12 Unusual Things That Have Washed Ashore
The oceans of the world are filled to the brim with mysteries. But sometimes, these mysteries are revealed to us when they end up washed up on our shores. From treasures to unusual sculptures and rare deep-sea creatures, some truly strange things have washed ashore in the past. Are you curious to know more about them? If so, here is a list of ten unusual things that have washed ashore.
1 In England, a life-sized E.T. replica once washed up with the tide on a beach.
In 2011-12, some five miles away off Old Portsmouth, Hants, in England, a beach walker spotted a “body” floating about. The walker then promptly dialed 999. But when the police and coastguard arrived at the scene, they quickly realized that it was not human at all. Rather, it was a life-sized replica of the infamous alien, E.T.
The alien model belonged to a then 76-year-old pensioner named Margaret Wells. It had been handcrafted by Mrs. Wells’ daughter nine years before the incident. Then, in September 2011, the alien model was stolen from her home along with some jewelry and an iron.
Despite this tragic loss, Mrs. Wells was sure that E.T. would come home – and she turned out to be right! But sadly, when E.T. returned home, it looked a bit roughed up and had lost a finger. Nonetheless, its owner was more than delighted to be reunited with her beloved alien. (1, 2)
2 In 2012, an eight-year-old boy stumbled upon a chunk of rare ambergris, commonly known as “whale vomit.”
Among the many things that the oceans regularly gurgle up, ambergris is perhaps one of the most priceless. Commonly known as “whale vomit,” ambergris is produced in the digestive systems of sperm whales. These can then float around for years in the ocean before being washed ashore.
Although synthetic alternatives exist, ambergris is highly valued in the perfume manufacturing industry. Due to this and its rarity, ambergris pieces can sometimes fetch huge amounts of money when sold. In 2012, a boy in England became one of the few lucky individuals to find a piece of ambergris.
Eight-year-old Charlie Naysmith was at Hengistbury Head on the coast of southern England when he stumbled upon this find. Initially, the boy believed it to be a mere seaside curiosity. But after looking into the lump, he and his family realized that they had unearthed a rare piece of “whale vomit.” This loaf-sized lump of ambergris was then valued at around £10,000 to £40,000 (about $15,000 to $63,000). (1, 2)
3 A giant Lego figurine once washed up on the shore of Siesta Key Beach, Florida.
In 2011, a giant Lego figurine washed ashore on Siesta Key Beach in Florida. This eight-foot-tall and 100-pound fiberglass Lego figure was discovered by a man during his morning walk on the beach. The figurine even bore a cryptic message on its body that read, “NO REAL THAN YOU ARE.” On its back, it had the numeral “8” and the name “Ego Leonard” (which can also be written as “L. Ego”).
Initially, many believed that this was a marketing stunt from Legoland. But as is often the case, the truth turned out to be much stranger. The figurine, like the ones that had shown up before on other beaches, was thought to be the work of a Dutch artist. However, it is not clear if Ego Leonard is the name of the figurine or the artist. Regardless, this figurine has proven to be a rather oddball find. (1, 2)
4 In 2021, a rarely seen deep-sea fish, called an “anglerfish,” reportedly washed ashore in California.
Fans of the hit animated film Finding Nemo may remember a deep-sea fish that had a light bulb on its head. Given how terrifying it appeared in the movie, you may have assumed that the fish was fictional. However, this creature, called an anglerfish, is very much real and can be found in the dark depths of the oceans.
This strange creature typically dwells at depths of around 3,000 feet. It has a mouthful of nightmarish sharp, pointy teeth and a protruding stalk on its head that produces luminescence to help attract its prey. Like most deep-sea creatures, this fish, too, is rarely seen outside its aquatic home.
But in 2021, one such fish, still intact, was found washed ashore at Crystal Cove State Park in California. It’s not clear how it got there or why, but it is thought to be a species of anglerfish called the Pacific “footballfish.” More importantly, these fish being rarely seen does not mean they are rare in nature. On the contrary, it’s possible they are common at those depths, and we just don’t know it. (1, 2)
5 Lately, some creepy-looking dolls have been washing ashore on the Texas shoreline.
Typically, when researchers survey a coast, they are on the lookout for sea creatures or endangered bird species. But sometimes, they end up finding some truly unusual things, such as a number of creepy-looking dolls.
As per reports from the Mission-Aransas Reserve researchers, these dolls have been making an appearance on Texas beaches for years now. Most of these dolls are found in gruesome states, either covered in barnacles or missing their eyes, limbs, and hair.
Jace Tunnell, director of the Mission-Aransas Reserve at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, has collected some thirty of these disturbing dolls. The reserve has even documented some of these dolls on its social media pages, and some people have expressed interest in purchasing them.
But where do these dolls come from? It is not really clear. However, the researchers have said that these Texas beaches are a “junk magnet” due to a loop current that extends from the Yucatan Peninsula to Florida. So more such dolls may appear here in the future. (1, 2)
6 A six-meter-long, intact whale backbone washed ashore on a beach in Australia in 2020.
In Australia, a man named Tony “Spike” Hancock stumbled across a whale backbone at Wonboyn Beach in the Nadgee Nature Reserve, south of Eden. The backbone had been stripped of its flesh, exposing some large bones.
David Donnelly, a research officer at the Dolphin Research Institute, suggested that the bones could be as heavy as ten kilograms (about twenty-two pounds). He also stated that it was uncommon to find such remains on land, making this a rather interesting find.
The authorities said that while they were aware of the find and assessing it, curious onlookers were not allowed to touch or remove any parts of the skeleton. Since whales are protected under Australian law, it is illegal to possess any of their parts. Non-compliance with this can even result in serious penalties.
However, this warning may have been all too unnecessary. Because, as it turns out, what drew Hancock in to make this discovery was not the large snake-like appearance of the vertebrae. Rather, it was a really putrid stench that accompanied the carcass. (source)
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