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Beachcomber scores find from 1991 'Perfect Storm'

Gary Higgins / Patriot Ledger via AP

Richard Figueiredo poses with a lobster trap in Pembroke, Mass.

The 1991 "Perfect Storm," the deadly event off Massachusetts that led to a best-selling book and Hollywood movie, is still generating news. A man who lost lobster traps in the storm was contacted by a beachcomber in Ireland who'd found a tag with his last name on it.

A quick search on Facebook led to a connection last week and then a phone call Thursday brought the two sides even closer together, The PatriotLedger.com reported Friday.

"You can see it's been around," said Richard Figueiredo of the trap tag after seeing a photo sent by beachcomber Rosemary Hill of Waterville, Kerry County.

"A very well-traveled tag indeed" is how Curt Ebbesmeyer, an oceanographer known for studying flotsam, described the find. He estimated it could have drifted 50,000 miles in currents before ending up on the Irish beach.

The tag likely drifted into the Gulf Stream, Ebbesmeyer said, where it would then float into the mid-Atlantic and probably get stuck in a huge gyre that traps flotsam for multiple three-year loops before letting go. The pot itself might have been stuck in the ocean floor for many years before the tag came free and started drifting, he said.

Figueiredo said that Hill offered to mail the tag back, but he wants her to keep it.

"The meaning it has over there is what matters," he said. "I am honored that she has put so much enthusiasm into this. What's happening now is a gift to me."