16 Strangest Things That Have Washed Up on Beaches
Shipwrecks and fossils and giant Legos—oh my! You’ll never guess the odd and incredible things these people found on the beach.
180 million-year-old fossil
Professional fossil collector Tony Gill discovered the bones of a prehistoric fish lizard, also called an ichthyosaur, buried on the English coastline. The 180 million-year-old fossil is 40 feet long (its skull alone is seven feet!), making it one of the largest ichthyosaur fossils ever found. It is now on display at Charmouth Fossils, which showcases a collection of similar specimens found on the nearby beach. But the coast isn’t the only place you can discover rare and valuable things. Check out the most incredible undersea treasures ever found.
Giant Lego man
Back in 2012, employees were opening a beachside bar for the day when they noticed something out of the ordinary. “We saw something bobbing about in the sea and we decided to take it out of the water,” an employee told Reuters. “It was a life-sized Lego toy.” Oddly enough, nobody knows where the eight-foot-tall Lego man came from. Don’t miss more of the strangest unsolved mysteries of all time.
World War II fighter plane
A World War II-era aircraft showed up on a Welsh beach in 2007, more than 60 years after it crashed off the coast in 1942. Known as the Maid of Harlech, the plane’s engines died during a training exercise, causing it to plunge into the ocean. Luckily, its pilot walked away without a scratch.
Eight-year-old Charlie Naysmith stumbled upon a chunk of rare ambergris—also known as “whale vomit”—on a British beach in 2012. Ambergris is often used to make perfume, and it is highly valuable; experts estimate this particular rock is worth a whopping $65,000. But you don’t have to leave home to make an incredible discovery. Here are 12 bizarre things homeowners have found in their own backyards.
Civil War-era cannonballs
Seventeen Civil War-era cannonballs were found fused together on a South Carolina beach in 2016. A local bomb squad was called to remove and destroy the relics, just in case they were still dangerous. However, two of the cannonballs were preserved and are now displayed at Fort Moultrie, another military base in South Carolina.
Clumps of palm oil
Nearly one dozen beaches across Hong Kong were closed to the public in August 2017 after clumps of congealed palm oil appeared on the shore. Days earlier, two ships filled with oil had crashed near mainland China, causing their cargo to spill into the sea. You’ll never guess the craziest things garbage collectors have found in the trash, either.
Olympics marathon platform
An official Olympic starting platform, built for a marathon swimming event in 2016, washed up on the Brazilian coast two days before the competition started. Practices had to be canceled—and the beach area closed—while officials tried to recover it. Check out more crazy things you didn’t know about the Olympics.
It’s not every day that you wake up to a 40-foot humpback whale lounging on your local beach. In 2016, Californian beachgoers watched as a bulldozer attempted to return the dead whale to the ocean, where it could decompose in peace without disrupting the locals. Authorities did not know why or how the whale had died.
In 2014, a Danish cargo ship ran into hurricane-force winds off the coast of Northern France, dumping more than 500 containers of cigarettes into the ocean. Later that day, an estimated $4 million worth of Marlboro cigarettes washed up on beaches in the United Kingdom. The boxes of cigarettes were later burned to make electricity.
Ancient walrus skull
Global Warming Images/Shutterstock
At the end of the last Ice Age, melting ice uncovered areas that were once buried deep beneath the sea. The new beaches contained hundreds of age-old fossils, making them gold mines for archaeologists. One of the unique discoveries included an ancient walrus skull, which was found in Norway in 2012. Experts say some of the bones are at least 10,000 years old.