People find items at the beach every day. For beachcombers, it’s fun to find some seashells, sea glass, and the occasional hermit crab. But some people have found some interestingly bizarre stuff you won’t usually find being washed ashore on beaches worldwide.
Thousands of bags of Doritos in Nacho Cheese, Cool Ranch, and Spicy Nacho flavors ended up strewing on a North Carolina beach on December 2006. A container ship that carried them encountered a storm, pushing boxes of the chips into the sea.
This resulted in a chip free-for-all. Doritos were littered more than half mile of the otherwise pristine beach. People were highly motivated with cleaning up the federally-protected beach – many of them carried their own garbage bags and filled packs of Doritos to bring home. Thankfully, the chips were still fresh because of the airtight seal. Some residents were somewhat peeved that people seemed to be more concerned with getting free junk food than offering public service, but what’s important is the Doritos were cleared from the sand. Seriously, we wished we were there when this happened, didn’t we?
2. Rubber ducks
The ocean looked like a huge playtime bathtub when rubber ducks came floating ashore. Of all the things that can fall of a cargo ship, these are probably the cutest.
In 1992, some 29,000 children’s bath toys were lost at sea while a cargo ship was on a voyage from Hong Kong to the United States. They were Friendly Floatees, a toy marketed by The First Years. Thousands of plastic yellow ducks, blue turtles and green frogs traveled near and far. They showed up in far-off shores such as in South America, Hawaii, Australia, Alaska, Newfoundland, Scotland and the Atlantic. Some get stuck in the Arctic, frozen in ice.
While some people wouldn’t have liked this as it would pollute the ocean and the beaches, but the “tragedy” these animal toys had experienced served a purpose. The Floatees helped oceanographers study ocean currents, as tracking their movements enabled the scientists to better understand the circuit of the North Pacific Gyre. It also brought awareness to the ocean garbage patch that lies within.
Beachcombers all over the world are still coming across rubber ducks up to this day, even after more than 20 years.
3. Giant Lego man
Beachcombers are always up for a surprise, wondering what mother nature could get for them by the shore. But even the most experienced would not expect for an eight-foot-tall, 100-pound Lego man, lying in the sand!
Strangely, five of these giant Lego men were found in different parts of the world. The first sighting was in 2007 in a sea near the Netherlands. The next year, another giant Lego sculpture was found on Brighton Beach, UK. He showed up again at Siesta Key Beach, Florida, in 2011; at a beach in Los Angeles, California in 2012; and in the shores of Kamakura, Japan in 2014. All the sculptures bear the message “No Real Than You Are,” printed on the Lego men’s torso. At the back of the figure’s shirt were the words “Ego Leonard.”
People were astounded, especially with the message of the sculptures. Who was behind this? What does the grammatically incorrect phrase mean?
The Lego Group said they had nothing to do with it. They denied speculations that it was a publicity stunt or that the giant Lego men were from Legoland Amusement Park in Orlando. However, the mystery was solved when a newspaper found out that Ego Leonard was a Dutch guerilla artist. When contacted by the media, he stayed anonymous and remained in character of the Lego men.
4. Backpacks with cocaine
It’s not uncommon for some drugs to be washed ashore. Illegal stuff like these and other contraband are usually transported via sea or airdropped by plane, and some get to be washed away to the beaches.
The biggest drug haul was probably the one on a beach near Tokyo, where 6 backpacks filled with 78 kg of cocaine were found in 2013. At that time, it was estimated to be worth 4.8 billion yen, or about $52 million. The backpacks were outfitted with a buoy and illuminated markers. Authorities suspect that they were lost by traffickers traveling at sea.
It was an elderly man who discovered them at the beach and reported it to the police. Thank heavens, it landed on the hands of an upright man.
5. Stack of love letters
It’s exciting to find messages in a bottle by the beach. Especially when it’s a love letter. But in the case of a 14-year old boy’s discovery, the love note was not just one. And not on a bottle. After the Hurricane Sandy struck in November 2012, he found 57 love letters tied with a ribbon inside a box. What’s more interesting is that it was dated between 1942 to 1948, just around World War II.
The letters were sent from Dorothy Fallon to Lynn Farnham, and the notes were dated all the way up until a week before their wedding. The boy who found it laid them out to dry in front of the fireplace on their home. His mother, after reading the letters, wanted to return them to whoever they belonged to. So, they tried to find this couple and they discovered that Lynn Farnham already died in 1991. The letters were eventually returned to the writer, Ms. Fallon, who was 91 years old that time.
On November 2007, the residents of Terschelling island in the Netherlands had a really great morning when they awoke to the sight of their beach littered with thousands of unripe bananas. It was like a blessing from the fruit gods! But it was actually due to cargo containers falling off a ship and bursting open.
Crowds of people showed up to gather bananas, of course. It’s free food! But because there were so many bananas, some suggested that they donate them to a zoo nearby.
This was not the first time the residents on this island experienced collecting unusual items at their beach. Just a year before that, thousands of sneakers littered their coastline and twenty years before that, they were swarmed with thousands of sweaters.