On February 13, 1997, a massive wave tipped over the container ship Tokio Express off the coast of Cornwall, England, dumping its cargo of over 4 million Lego bricks into the sea (a disaster that would also make a pretty good inciting incident for The Lego Movie 2). Pieces, many of them ironically nautical in theme, have been washing up on the shores of Cornwall ever since.
Local resident Tracey Williams has been tracking the pieces since she and her kids first discovered them in the late ’90s, and last October, she took her fascination with the phenomenon online with the Facebook page Lego Lost At Sea. Followers post pictures of their finds, which have washed up on beaches all over England and Ireland and as far away as Holland and Australia. Williams tells NPR, “It is perfectly feasible after 17 years that this Lego could have gone around the world”—a statement that, devastating ecological consequences of dumping millions of pieces of plastic into the ocean aside, is about as whimsical as it gets.