Here at Bolsover Cruise Club, we spend a fair amount of time thinking about the ocean. Did you know that 70% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered and that 95% of the ocean remains unexplored? These big numbers are great news for cruise fanatics like ourselves, but we got to thinking; if the ocean is that big, this year’s rubbish Christmas gifts can’t be the only things tossed overboard into the deepest blue. Even we were surprised by some of the strangest things that have ever been found in our seas.
17 BMW Motorbikes
When MSC Napoli was grounded off the coast of Devon, 103 of its containers cascaded into the sea. One of these containers held seventeen BMW R1200RT motorbikes; all of which were in an immaculate condition, without a single scratch, dent or hint of water damage. Two of the bikes were seized by police, two vanished and thirteen were kept by those who found them on the beach. Legal wrangles ensued, with BMW demanding the return of the bikes in return for £260 each. The request was refused by all of those in possession of the bikes and the saga continues to this day.
The World’s First Computer
Recovered in 1900 from the shipwreck of Roman cargo ship Antikythera, the Antikythera mechanism was one of the most important finds of the 20th century. Considered to be the world’s oldest computer, the bronze mechanism used 40 cogs and gears to track cycles of the solar system and predict solar eclipses. The complex mechanical functions of the computer contributed to vast progress in mathematics and astronomy by the ancient Greeks.
You might be more used to seeing a rubber duck bobbing around in the bath than in the sea, but these yellow bathtime buddies have become a regular sight on beaches around the world. In January 1992, a cargo ship was making its way from China to the USA, when a container of 28,000 rubber ducks slipped into the North Pacific. Thousands have already been found, but at least 2,000 are still out there, bobbing around on the waves.
They say you can find Jesus in all places, but we would have thought the Mediterranean Sea was an exception to the rule. Apparently not, as the 2.5 metre tall ‘Christ of the Abyss’ statue sits submerged 17 metres deep in the waters off San Fruttuoso.
There have been times when we would do almost anything for a packet of crisps, but scavenging hundreds of packets of washed up Doritos is probably a step too far even for us. Residents of a beach town on the Outer Banks of North Carolina weren’t so choosy in 2006, when a container of thousands of packets of Doritos fell from a cargo ship and washed up on the beach. Locals gathered with bin liners to collect packets of the crisps, which thanks to their airtight packaging were still fresh and perfectly edible.
E.T. (Yes, the alien)
E.T. apparently decided that phoning home wasn’t doing the job, choosing to give swimming there a try instead. Okay, so it wasn’t the actual E.T. who was found washed up on the coast of Portsmouth in 2012, but a life-size replica that had been stolen from the home of pensioner Margaret Wells.
Coastguards and police were called to reports of a body on the beach, and received quite the shock when they realised it was actually everyone’s favourite alien.
There is nothing more annoying than only being able to find one shoe, so imagine how people felt when faced with a beach strewn with thousands of pairs of perfectly wearable Nike trainers; none of them laced together in pairs.
Twelve containers were cast overboard when the P&O Nedloyd Auckland encountered a hurricane mid-Pacific, two of which contained thousands of pairs of 1999 Nike Cross trainers. Locals flocked to the beaches and set out on the hunt for matching pairs.
The Army Corp of Engineers were in for a surprise when they dredged the lower New York Bay and discovered the body of a giraffe. It is likely that the giraffe had sailed the ocean on board a circus ship, though whether it died in a failed escape attempt or died on board and was cast into the water is unknown.
When the Tokio Express was hit by a freak wave 20 miles off Land’s End, it lost 62 containers from its load. Amongst the contents of said containers were 4,756,940 pieces of LEGO. Seventeen years later, LEGO still washes up on the beaches of Cornwall, with dragons and octopuses proving to be the most sought after pieces.
McVities Chocolate Biscuits
When the cargo ship Riverdance was forced to run aground in February 2008, thousands of packets of the McVities Chocolate Biscuits were washed up on the Lancashire shore, gifting the population of Blackpool with enough biscuits to never be short of something to dunk in their brew again.