In 2012, during the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, a New Jersey real estate sign went missing. The sign was torn from its post in front of a waterfront home in Brielle and washed away to an unknown location. Now, almost six years later, it has shown up—in France.
According to The New York Times, the sign from Diane Turton, Realtors, a Jersey Shore real estate firm, washed ashore on a French beach near Bordeaux. Hannes Frank was walking along Plage du Pin Sec when he spotted the sign, a little worse for wear but still legible. He emailed the realtors about his find and included pictures of the broken sign in the sand.
The plastic sign traveled approximately 3595 miles during its years-long journey. An oceanographer suggested to The New York Times that it could have crossed the Atlantic Ocean multiple times before Frank found it, estimating that it would take about a year and a half for an object to drift from New Jersey to France. A floating real-estate sign could travel about seven miles per day, expert Curtis Ebbesmeyer told the newspaper.
Due to ocean currents, odd objects wash up on beaches all the time from far-flung coasts. Besides your average message-in-a-bottle finds, beachcombers regularly discover possessions washed away in tsunamis and goods that have fallen off cargo ships or been lost in shipwrecks. For instance, in 1992, a cargo ship accidentally spilled 28,000 rubber ducks into the North Pacific; they floated thousands of miles over the course of more than a decade, ending up as far away as Europe. LEGO toys that fell overboard from a container ship during a storm in 1997 are still washing up on English beaches today. Figuring out where these toys and drifting objects end up can help scientists study ocean currents and drift patterns.
But for the most part, the original owners rarely get photo updates about where their lost goods end up.
[h/t The New York Times]