If you happen to find yourself strolling on the beach in Cornwall, you might find some man-made detritus along with the expected array of shells and seaweed and sand. You might find some diving flippers. Or a life preserver. Or a spear gun.
The items will likely be made of plastic. They'll also, likely, be tiny. They'll also, likely, be adorable. Because they'll likely be Legos.
Seafaring bits of Legoland, the BBC explains, have been a regular presence on the Cornish coast for more than a decade—a combination of environmental threat and cultural oddity that also offers a lesson in the still-mysterious workings of ocean currents.
It started in 1997. On February 13 of that year, a rogue wave hit the New York-bound cargo ship Tokio Express while it was only 20 miles off Land's End, on Britain's southwest coast. The ship stayed afloat; some of its cargo, however—62 shipping containers—were thrown overboard as the vessel pitched. One of these containers contained Legos. Tons of Legos—many of them, because of course, nautical-themed. There were toy kits that included plastic aquanauts. And spear guns (13,000 of them). And life preservers (26,600). And scuba tanks (97,500). And octopi (4,200).