There’s no doubt that the vast and murky ocean waters hold all kinds of secrets. It’s a mysterious place that we can only dream of better understanding. But on occasion, the sea spits up some really weird objects and creatures that leave us with more questions than answers.
From prehistoric animals to grand pianos, here’s a collection of the world’s most intriguing beach-side finds that have ever been captured on camera. They give us a rare and exciting glimpse into the mind-boggling reality of the open sea – you just never know what’s going to wash up on the beach next.
A Relic From a Bygone Era
What would you do if you stumbled upon a military aircraft from a bygone era? That’s what one beach-goer experienced when they found this Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter plane washed up on the Welsh coast. It was discovered to lie only two meters below the sea bed and sometimes becomes visible when the tide moves the sand.
Nicknamed the Maid of Harlech, the plane crashed in 1942 during a training exercise and failed to be recovered until far into the future. It has actually been discovered on three separate occasions – sometime in the seventies, in 2007, and most recently, 2014 – as its visibility is dependant on the conditions.
Kids Toys on Steroids
It’s hard to believe it, but one day a giant LEGO man washed up ashore in 2011. We can’t think of a more mind-boggling sight to see when strolling on the beach in Florida. It was eight-foot-tall and had the cryptic message “NO REAL THAN YOU ARE” written across its front.
The funny thing is, the LEGO Group denied having anything to do with it, or even any knowledge about the huge yellow man: “This activity is in no way sponsored or endorsed by The LEGO Group or Merlin Entertainments, who run LEGOLAND attractions.” It was found to be part of a Dutch art movement instead, where the larger-than-life statue goes by the name Ego Leonard.
A Woodworker’s Dream
We’d definitely think the apocalypse was about to come if we found this scene at the beach. In 2002, approximately 2000 tons of untreated timber washed up ashore in Dorset, England. A sunken cargo ship got stuck off the Cornish coast, leading to several thousand pieces of wood floating to the nearby coast.
Hundreds of scavengers saw it as a free-for-all, including a group of design students from the University of Plymouth. They managed to create a three-story beach house from their sawn Swedish red and white timber findings before the local council demolished the remains.
The Dinosaur Fish
You’d be forgiven for thinking these men had just found the head of some prehistoric sea monster. But actually, this is an ocean sunfish and it’s all in one piece. Also known as a common mola, this particular specimen was found by the two fishermen, pictured, off of the coast of Murray River in South Australia.
Believe it or not, they can grow even bigger than this. And according to the Australian Museum fish collection manager, Ralph Foster, it’s an especially uncommon variety: “I’ve actually had a good look at it, we get three species here and this is actually the rarest one in South Australian waters.”
The Kiss of Death
This has to be one of the more terrifying finds on the beach, at least at first glance. What appears to be the lower half of a human face is (thankfully) not as ghastly as it initially seems. The couple who found it recalled the moment they understood what its purpose must have once been.
“One beach-combing outing I found a part of a face. My husband and I suspect it may have something to do with CPR training.” Well, thank goodness for that. But even so, this particular beach-find goes down in the history books as one of the most alarming and bizarre ones yet.
A Grand (Piano) Mystery
This unexpected beach find will definitely have you scratching your head. In 2011, people suddenly discovered a grand piano on a trough bar in Miami, Florida. You can still find it there in Biscayne Bay, as The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission refused to remove it. Apparently, it simply doesn’t pose a navigational risk.
The musical instrument is thought to weigh at least 650 pounds, but there’s more to the mystery. The wood of the grand piano was found to be charred, meaning that it had also at some point been set alight. We can only wonder as to what the history is of this unexpected beach find.
The Snake of the Sea
Once you’ve seen one oarfish, you’re unlikely to forget it. Also known as ribbon fish, they are the longest bony fish in the world and extremely rare to come across. That’s because they hardly ever come to the surface of the sea unless they’ve been injured or they are dying. These three men stumbled upon one of the largest on record in 2007.
They can grow up to 50 feet long and tend to live in tropical and temperate waters all over the world. But not too much is known about these mysterious fish, which makes this beach find extra special. Interestingly in Japan, these snake-like sea creatures are called “Messengers from the Sea God’s Palace,” and are thought to be bad omens.
Off With His Head!
Beach-goers got quite a surprise when they found the decapitated head of a crocodile on the shore. The beach had washed up only part of the reptile carcass, leading to many theories about what had happened to the rest of it. But the couple who found the disembodied head was certain as to what must have happened.
“You can see where the shark has actually ripped it… On the side here in the flesh you can see the shark teeth,” Brigitte and Neale Cary-Smith explained. The idea of poachers having been responsible for it seemed to be out of the question, as the head of a crocodile is the most valuable part. Who needs their morning coffee after that?
Keep a Safe Distance
How can something be so terrifying and cute all at the same time? We wouldn’t know whether to run for our lives or attempt to pet this beach-bound creature, but upon closer inspection, it’s clear that you should do neither. It’s a pufferfish (also known as a balloon fish) famous for its “puffed up” appearance and frightful spikes.
Pufferfish only inflate like a balloon as a defense mechanism, so obviously this guy isn’t feeling too safe. There spikes are actually a part of their spines and make them extra tough for predators. This guy’s doing the right thing by keeping his hands to himself and looking on from a safe distance. Let’s just hope he figured out a way to get it back in the sea!
Whichever Way the Dice Fall
When a city in Idaho found a giant-sized cube of dice laying on the shore in 2008, they didn’t know what to think of it. Naturally, people were wondering where on earth it had hailed from and what it is was. Found in Coeur d’Alene, the object was made from steel and was four and a half feet wide.
Apparently been floating around the area for years before it finally docked. Eventually people figured out that it had been a storage tank of some sort. But the mystery still remains – why had it been painted to look like a giant cube of dice? The best explanation offered was that a random individual, probably, fancied practicing their art skills.
When Mosquitos Were Giant
Imagine walking along the coastline, minding your own business, and then walking into a skull that’s the same size as you. For one man, he doesn’t have to imagine, as he stumbled upon one of the most unusual finds we’ve ever seen. It’s a skull that looks like it once belonged to a Game of Thrones dragon.
Although, one concerned commenter wrote online that it looks like a prehistoric giant mosquito, and it’s hard to argue with them on that. Whatever sea mammal this skull actually belonged to, we don’t want to know and it looks like science doesn’t want to either. We’re not sure we could handle the truth.
You’re Going Bananas
It’s only fair that if you should stumble upon a beach of bananas, you should take as much as you can carry. At least, that’s what happened when the residents of Terschelling Island did when they woke up to find bunches of the unripe fruit right on the shore. Half a mile of the beach was totally covered in them in 2007.
Apparently, six containers worth of green bananas fell off of a cargo ship during a storm. Located 70 miles north of Amsterdam, they had come all the way from Cuba. Gossen Buren, a shipping official at the local lighthouse, said: “I think everybody on the island has a bunch now.” We should hope so.
The Apocolypse Is Coming
This guy found the carcass of a massive whale along the shore of Patagonia in southern Chile in June 2015. Most people can only dream of seeing the world’s largest mammal in such close approximation. But sadly, it happened to be part of the single largest “die-offs” in science history.
One of the scientists who made the discovery, Vreni Haussermann, said “It was an apocalyptic sight. I’d never seen anything like it.” After some time, they found that the whale “die-off” consisted of at minimum 337 whales. “There are still a lot of areas we haven’t managed to reach, so it’s likely there are more dead whales,” she continued. Weirdly, there were no wounds to be found on any of the carcasses…
Blast From the Past
This alarming object washed ashore recently in March 2021, in Florida’s Ocean Hammock Park. Unsurprisingly, when people caught sight of the it the beach emptied in no time. It’s a bright orange 20-foot-long Air Force drone that was used as an aerial target for fighter pilots.
The drone travels at high speeds of up to 700 miles per hour, making this find all the more terrifying. But believe it or not, it’s not the first time it’s happened. U.S. Air Force spokesperson Lt. Savannah Bray said: “This is not the first time this has happened. We are able to retrieve the vast majority of them, but every so often weather or winds pick up and we are unable to recover it, and they later wash up on shore.”
Floating Terror and Visual Delight
The alarming pink and purple color of these jellyfish-like creature is there for good reason. This is a Portuguese man o’ war, also known as floating terror, which washed up on the coast of Myrtle Beach in 2020. They may look fun to step on, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Should anyone come into contact with their venomous tentacles, they would experience excruciating pain or in the worst-case scenarios, death. And they can be hard to avoid, with the longest tentacles of this man o’ war found to measure a whopping 16 feet long. Mother nature certainly does throw up some crazy-looking creatures.
It Must Be a Sign
We can only imagine what introspective questions must have arisen when people found this gigantic cross washed up on the beach. It was found along the shore in south Florida, covered in barnacles. Unsurprising, it quickly became a tourist attraction that everyone wanted a picture with.
Some believed it to be some type of divine intervention, while others thought it used to hold up the sails of an old pirate ship. Pictured at the Ocean Manor Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale, the mystery of the 20-foot-long cross remains unsolved, as no one really has any clue as to where on earth it came from.
Shivers Down Our Spine
Scotland found itself in the center of a beach-based mystery when this humongous skeleton washed up ashore. It wasn’t long before locals began suspecting that the skeleton belonged to a mythical creature, namely the Loch Ness Monster. But the man who found it had other ideas.
Matthew Cooke was convinced that it was the skeletal structure of a prehistoric animal. He told Facebook: “At first glance I thought a brontosaurus but looking at the vertebrae in the skeletal structure I’m swayed towards a diplodocus/triceratops.” Other people suggested it may have belonged to a whale, orca, or a dolphin. But ultimtely, the jury’s still out.
A Miniature Ecosystem
On a beach in Hawaii, one couple spotted something in the sand that they had never seen before. Upon closer inspection, it appeared to be a huge glass ball with several barnacles embedded into it. It’s almost as though mother nature created her very own work of art.
The man who stumbled upon it wrote that it was a “beautiful glass ball in Hawaii I found with my wife that has created a small ecosystem.” But if we stare at the mystery object for long enough, we can’t help but wonder – what’s that dark shape trapped inside the ball of glass?
We wonder how these guys got so lucky the day the sea gifted them a motorbike. In 2007 off the coast of Devon, England, a British container ship started sinking and lead to all the crew abandoning it fast. As for the contents of the ship, they washed ashore in no time.
103 containers made their way to the beach and local scavengers had themselves a free-for-all. Beauty creams, barrels of wine, and oil paintings were among the contents, but most valuable of all were the brand-new BMW motorbikes. Each of them was worth around $17,000, and BMW told the beachcombers that they could keep their treasured finds.
The Grin That Doesn’t Go Away
As strange as it seems, the residents of Brittany, France, have become accustomed to seeing novelty Garfield phones wash ashore since the eighties. The smirking orange cartoon cats have been popping up on occasion for over 30 years, and there’s a very good reason why.
Burried deep in a close-by sea cave lies a shipping container that was once stuffed to the brim with these eye catching devices. Now, the metal container is empty, thanks to the strength of the tide. And locals are left wondering about how many more cat phones could be out there in the ocean.
Seafood for Breakfast?
Deep sea creatures are often very misunderstood as they rarely come to the surface and allow people to understand them better. So when this giant squid washed up on the shore of South Africa, locals could hardly believe their luck. Believe it or not, this is actually a baby giant squid!
Its tentacles were spread out and long revealing its complex colors and the longest tentacle of 14 feet. Unfortunately, it didn’t live long, but scientists were shocked to find it in “impeccable condition.” To us, it definitely resembles some kind of an alien in a sci-fi movie.
A Shoe as Good As New
Terschelling Island in the Netherlands gets its fair share of ocean debris, but the day that thousands of pairs of sneakers washed up on their beach was definitely a day to remember. It was 2006, and the locals were keen to find matching pairs that fit them.
“First, we thought it was funny…I even found a pair of sandals that fit my size and kept them,” said one of the beachgoers at the time. But there’s a very good explanation for all the sports shoes ending up on the shore. A shipping container had fallen into the water during transit, after a particularly rough storm.
A Blue Baby Dragon
We thought the magical creatures from the Avatar movie were a thing of fiction, but this photo proves James Cameron had plenty of inspiration on planet earth. This bizarre looking creature was spotted on the coastline of Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, which does nothing to suppress our fears of ever visiting Down Under.
Meet the blue sea slug, also known as the Glaucus Atlanticus, that spend most of its time floating upside down on ocean waves. If you’re frightened by its appearance, you’re right to be. They aren’t toxic per say, but they do store up their stinging cells and it can get pretty painful.
Ice Spy With My Little Eye
It’s not just warm weather beaches that throw up the strangest things. This discerning gentleman was taking in some fresh air on a beach in Ireland when he discovered an oddly shaped block of ice on the shore. It was midday at Black Sand Beach, and the view was spectacular.
Before long, he realized the ice block was shaped like armchair and decided to have himself a seat. We can’t believe how perfectly sea-weathered it was – it even had neck support! It’s as though the ocean coughed up the perfect throne for him to sit and appreciate the view. We love to see it.
It’s Better Out of the Ocean Than In
When the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club in Sydney, Australia, spotted a huge green objected floating to the shore they didn’t know what to think. The locals were also alarmed, and couldn’t decide whether it was some kind of a sea creature or an art installation. Even the local council thought it might be a washed-up whale.
It wasn’t an animal carcass or contemporary art. When they finally got their hands on it, they found that the large ocean-bound object was in fact a massive green water tank. “We are unsure where it came from, although there’s a strong possibility it was washed out to sea during this week’s floods,” Randwick City Council said in a public statement.
A Prophetic Message
There’s an island near Brooklyn, New York, that had a cryptic message wash ashore in 2019. A metal sheet that presumably had a different purpose once before, had been made into a makeshift wall hanging thanks to an unknown artist. And on it was written a chilling message.
Somebody had scrawled the words, “AN INCH FROM CATASTROPHE,” and signed the picture “you.” It washed up on to the industrial land at Dead Horse Bay, and for all we know it might still be there. Pictured among other trash that litters the sight, it definitely reads like an omen of things to come.
It Still Has the Twinkle in Its Eye
We can only imagine the terror that beachgoers felt upon finding this washed up ashore. If you can’t tell, it’s a singular giant eyeball the size of a shot put. It washed up on Florida’s Pompano Beach in 2012 and took scientists a while to figure out where it had come from. The guy who found it recalled: “It was very, very fresh. It was still bleeding when I put it in the plastic bag.”
At first, it was thought to be from something like a big squid due to its large mass. “From what I understand there appears to be bones around the eye, so that would rule out a squid,” said a research institute spokesperson at the time. In the end, they settled on it having belonged to a swordfish. But that didn’t stop people online from believing it comes from a bigfoot.
Hailstones From Hell
West Michigan can be home to some pretty spectacular weather, and nothing proves it more than this bizarre phenomenon. In this photo, naturally occurring frozen ice balls have rolled up onto the shore providing people with some premade snowball fight ammunition.
However, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation for these bizarre sea balls. Chunks of ice are thought to break off from massive ice sheets, that then get pounded by the waves. This constant pummelling creates a spherical shape, and therefore one of the strangest natural phenomenons on the planet.
A White and Hairy Whale Glob
This huge hairy blob washed ashore in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2017 and authroities were called to the scene immediately. It was identified as part of a whale carcass, and military officials worked together to remove it from the public beach. But why is it white and why does it look hairy?
This alien-like object could possibly be the soft tissue of a sperm whale. Mysterious large white lumps have previously been identified as the large spermaceti organ of a male sperm whale, albeit in New Zealand. Whatever part of a whale this is, it definitely reminds us of just how mysterious the ocean really is.
A Metal Orb of Mystery
This huge metal sphere was found on a beach in the Bahamas in 2021, and beachgoers flocked to the object to see what it could have been. But all they found on it was a bunch of Russian letters etched onto the side, and the mystery lived on. That was until they posted it on Reddit and someone clued them in. It is thought to be a pneumatic accumulator tank of an engine control system from a Soyuz rocket.
It weighed 41 kilograms and the Russian text read that the object was operational in extreme temperature conditions, from -170C to -196C. Dr. Martin Archer from the Department of Physics at Imperial College London claimed that these objects were “usually used on uncrewed spacecraft or satellites and squeeze propellant into rocket engines or thrusters.” The more you know.
Ireland’s Ghost Ship Extraordinaire
A storm in South Ireland washed up an abandoned “ghost ship” in 2020 after being lost at sea for over a year. It was a 250 feet long vessel and definitely had a creepy vibe. But there was a perfectly good explanation for how it turned up over 1000 miles away from when it had last been seen.
Basically, this ship had been abandoned by its 10 crewmen in 2018 after an unexpected power outage. The crew were rescued, but the ship was left abandoned at sea and travelled alone for almost a year and half. Who knew authorities would just abandon an oil-filled vessel like that in the sea?
A Blast From the Past
When this large concrete structure washed up ashore in Kent, England, it was identified as having been from the Second World War era. It’s a pillbox defense structure (AKA war bunker) from the 1940s that served as part of Britain’s coastal defense. They had two main purposes during the war.
The bunker’s primary use was as a lookout facing towards the sea, but they doubled as firing positions for the armed forces should the enemy have been trying to invade. This structure had fallen into the sea due to coastal erosion, before being washed back on land by the tide.
The Eye of Sauron
Are we the only ones who want to get those kids as far away from this as possible? This freakish red glob was found on a beach in Peaks Island, Maine, and it’s one of the most terrifying things you could see. It looks like something from a science fiction movie, or maybe even the eye of Sauron from The Lord of the Rings.
It is in fact a Lions Mane Jellyfish, one of the largest jellyfish species in existence. The largest specimen ever found had a seven-foot-long diameter and tentacles that were 120 feet long. The more we look at the star shape in the center, the more we’re reminded of the Shadow Monster in Stranger Things.
Get NASA on the Phone
Seabrook Island in South Carolina had an unexpected visitor in 2018 when this huge cylindrical object washed up ashore. From look at this photo, you’d think this mystery item was made from concrete. But the Lowcountry Marine Mammal Network confirmed that it had a decieving texture as it was, in fact, more like a soft foam.
The Marine Mammal Network asked people on Facebook what they thought it was. Since you can see the objects insulating layers, alot of people thought it could be a re-entry capsule for a NASA rocket or shuttle. It hasn’t been confirmed or denied, so it’s anyones guess what it really is.
A Different Kettle of Fish
This photo isn’t a fake – this is an actual deep sea fish. One person was taking in the view at Crystal Cove State Park’s beach when they stumbled upon this frightful sea animal. It’s an Anglerfish, and it usually dwells right at the bottom of the ocean floor. How it got so far from there is an ongoing mystery.
The creepy looking hand coming out of it’s head is actually a bone coming out of it’s spine. It acts as a fishing rod with a bioluminscent light that lures in smaller unsuspecting prey. Everything from the color of the Anglerfish to its large agape mouth and several rows of tiny sharp teeth are almost too terrifying to believe.
Only as Old as You Feel
On a beach in Devon, England, this bizarre structure appeared as if by magic overnight. It turns out that it was the base of a ship wreckage that occurred over two hundred years ago. Maritime archaeology experts thought it might be the remains of the Sally, a ship that sailed the seas back in 1769!
Experts also understood it to have reappeared suddenly because a low tide. An expert with Historic England said: “The timbers are exceptionally well preserved, giving the whole outline of the ship, and they match the unusual circumstances of the loss of the Sally, which was driven stern first on to the beach.”
On a beach in Jupiter Island, Florida, beachgoers had no idea what they were looking at when they saw this huge yellow mechanical object that had the shape of a UFO. It was around the size of a car, and it really got people talking on social media. But people have since figured out exactly what it is.
It is a desalinator, that takes energy from ocean waves, and it turns saltwater into freshwater. Oneka Technologies admitted that they had lost it back in 2017 when maintenance workers attached it to a temporary anchor. It broke loose, only to wash ashore years later in early 2020.
Who’s Missing an Engine?
This hummongus metal object was found in a village in Myanmar in 2016. It was 12 feet long and five feet in diameter, and no one was quite sure where it had come from. We can see from the photo that it was about the size of a car, and almost resembles the engine of an aircraft.
Towards the tail of the mechanical object body were found diodes and several copper wires. But in the center there was a hollow space big enough for a person to fit in. It hasn’t been publicly confirmed what this object is by the Myanmar government, but the locals have their own ideas.
Bath Toys at the Beach
People found a bucnh of rubber yellow ducks on the beach in Kent, England. They were supposed to be cleared away after an art installation hosted by the Tate Gallery as part of its Turbine Generation Project. When the installation was over, they were left on the beach for a day before the artist came by to collect them.
But some still found their way into the ocean and eventually washed ashore. The artist, Corinne Felgate, claimed that she was inspired by a story from 1992, as a shipment of 28,000 rubber ducks became lost in the Pacific Ocean. “I wanted to make the piece for the public and leave the ducks to be washed away for people to discover,” Corinne stated.
Ahoy, Me Hearties
A 48-foot-long vessel was washed ashore on Ponte Vedra Beach in St. Johns County back in 2018. A woman named Julie Turner discovered the object with her eight year old son: “We walked and checked it out and immediately knew it was a historical piece of artifact.” She wasn’t wrong.
An expert at St. Augustine’s Lighthouse and Maritime Museum believed it to be a “holy grail” shipwreck piece dating back to the 19th century. “We haven’t seen a piece this large in over a decade,” they stated, adding “It’s a section from a big sailing ship, I’ll tell you that.”
Driftwood in the Most Literal Sense
A gigantic piece of driftwood quite literally drifted ashore the La Push beach in Washington. In the photo, we can see the tremendous base of the great Western Red Cedar tree, which rarely sees the light of day. And we just can’t get enough of the intricate pattern on the underside.
“It’s not uncommon to find one as tall as I am, but that’s pretty big,” said a worker from the local Olympic National Park. But he had a pretty good explanation for how this giant tree might have ended up there: “We can get some huge winter storms that cause the rivers that flow through the forest to flood and trees on the edge can topple in.”
Hard To Miss
2017 saw these massive pipes wash up on the shore of a beach in Norfolk, England. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for the authorities to step and figure out just what was happening. They were extremely large, with a diameter of eight feet and a length of 1,547 feet.
Salvage experts came to clear the beach of all four of the pipes, and figured out how they got there. These underground pipes were hit by a container ship that was on its way to Algeria, which knocked them loose from their stations. But a total of 12 pipes got dislodged, meaning there must still be another eight out there…