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LEGO Lost At Sea

Four-year-old River holding a LEGO octopus that she and her father Robin found at Castle Beach, Cornwall, England.

In 1997, a huge rogue wave hit the container ship Tokio Express, knocking 62 containers overboard just 20 miles off Britain's southwest coast. One of those containers contained 4,756,940 pieces of LEGO (ironically, many of those pieces are for toy kits with nautical theme, including LEGO Pirates, 418,000 swimming flippers, 97,500 scuba tanks, 26,600 life preservers, 13,000 spear guns, and 4,200 octopuses.)

Shortly after, some of those pieces of LEGO toys started washing up on the beaches of Cornwall - and today, eighteen years later, they still kept on coming.

Discovering these LEGO pieces have become a hobby for British writer and beachcomber Tracey Williams, and she has created the Lego Lost At Sea Facebook page to chronicle the all the wonderful things that people have found:

"Whoop whoop, I found a Christmas Dragon!" writes Suki Honey, who sent in this picture an hour or so ago of a Lego dragon she has just discovered on the south coast of Cornwall. Suki is an experienced dragon whisperer having lured a fair few out of their nests in recent years and now has six living with her. She has also given a few away.

If this little octopus could talk, I wonder what tale he would tell? Somewhat bruised and battered, he was discovered today at Perranporth in Cornwall by Terena Hillary. He wasn't hidden in seaweed or buried under mounds of plastic, he was just lying alone on the sand, all forlorn. In fact, I walked straight over him. Like all octopus finders, Terena was somewhat excited to discover him. "How happy are you on a scale of 1 to 10?" I asked her. "A squillion," she replied.  Time for a happy dance.

Today something new to look out for - red bricks. Last Wednesday Ally Atkinson, finder of the octopus hoard, sent in this picture. "No dragons or octopus today but I did find what looks like a seal or sea lion (made by Duplo Lego), soldier, tiny little baby and three or four Lego bricks, corners all well rounded so must have been in for ages!" she writes. "Oh yes and a pretty button." Well, I've just checked the cargo manifest and there were indeed 13,300 'red two stud bricks' in the container that fell off the Tokio Express back in 1997. Where are the rest?

View more over at Lego Lost At Sea.

If you wanted to go hunting for washed up LEGO pieces, we've featured a map by the BBC to guide you on where to go.

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