Mystifying shipwrecks, entire cities and historic treasure are just some of the incredible manmade items that lie on the seabed, waiting to be discovered. Not all things wait to be found, though. There are plenty of weird and wonderful things that have been washed up onshore over the years. From giant Lego men to rubber ducks - here’s a list of the weirdest things found in the ocean.
An ancient computer
When snorkellers explored a shipwreck off the island of Antikythera in 1901, they did not expect to discover an ancient computer. It took several years for scientists to figure out exactly what the mantel clock-sized device was. But thanks to x-ray technology, scientists solved the puzzle with experts now believing it was the earliest form of a computer known to man. The Antikythera mechanism was designed to serve several purposes, including predicting the astronomical positions and eclipses of calendars and counting down the days until the next Olympic Games. Today, the well-preserved ancient computer is displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.
Giant Lego man
Imagine taking a leisurely stroll along your favourite beach, only to discover an eight-foot-tall Lego figurine washed up onshore. Bizarre, right? It becomes even stranger when it happens multiple times around the world. The Lego men, which feature t-shirts with ‘No Real Than You Are’ written on them, are the work of Dutch painter and sculptor, Ego Leonard and have been found on beaches in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, America and most recently, Japan. Rumoured to be an anonymous guerilla artist, Leonard’s work prominently features these oversized Lego figures.
In 1985, Paul Hepler was diving off the coast of New Jersey (in order to map out the bottom of the ocean with a magnetometer) when he came across two trains. The locomotive graveyard, which dates back to the 1850s, is the watery resting place of two Rare Planet Class 2-2-2 T models - a train model that was only produced for a very short period of time. It is unclear as to why the trains are 90-metres below water but historians believe that they either fell off a barge by accident or were deliberately thrown off a ship to reduce the risk of sinking during rough seas. Today, the site has become a popular spot for wreck diving.
Underwater New York, a digital multimedia art journal, features works inspired by unusual objects that have washed up on the shores of New York City or that lurk in the depths of the city’s waterways. One of its features was a lonely mechanical hand with articulated fingers which was spotted on the shore of Great Kills Park Beach in Staten Island by a local on their autumn stroll. The rest of the robot was nowhere to be seen - spooky!
During a storm in 1998, a shipping container, which was carrying 28,000 rubber ducks, fell overboard. Over the years, the rubber ducks have been spotted on the shores of Scotland, South America, Hawaii, Alaska and Australia. Known as “Friendly Floatees” by the followers who track their progress, the rubber ducks have been monitored closely by researchers to gain a better understanding of the flow of water currents. There are more rubber ducks still afloat on the world’s oceans - the question is, where will they appear next?