The 10 Strangest Things Washed Up On Cornish Beaches

by Jules on April 29, 2013

Every year thousands of holiday maker’s flock to Cornwall, located on the southern coast of England, to explore its many attractions and relax on its stunning beaches. However the Cornish coasts are not always the most calming of places, as they seem to pick up an alarming number of bizarre objects with unknown origins or from unusually far afield. Ranging from dead polar bears to barnacled sea monsters, we have scoured the internet for the top 10 strangest things washed up on Cornish beaches for your reading pleasure.

10. Loggerhead Turtle

We kick off this list with a relatively tame but still very unusual finding. In early 2012, beach walkers found a dead loggerhead turtle washed up on the beach near Bude. The endangered species is thought to of gotten lost as they normally reside in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean, and to date over 200 have found themselves washed up on the shores of England and Ireland. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-16561209

9. Cuttlefish bones

In May 2011 thousands upon thousands of Cuttlefish bones were being washed up onto Cornish beaches over a matter of days, which left wild life experts baffled. Believe it or not cuttlefish are among the most intelligent of all the invertebrates with a large brain to body ratio, and die after breeding, resulting in their bones being scattered across beaches. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-13451208

8. Mutant Crab

This mutant crab was found on Towan beach by the curator of Newquay’s Blue Reef Aquarium (how convenient!), and has an extra set of pincers. It was found at a popular spot dubbed as “crab hotel” due to the large number of crustaceans you can find there. Crabs are able to regrow their limbs so it’s possible this one got a little confused. http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Mutant-crab-Cornish-beach/story-12849540-detail/story.html

7. Barnacled Sea Monster

Beachgoers flocked to the rocky coast of Bude when a barnacled sea monster was washed up on the jagged rocks. The squirming mass was covered in Goose barnacles, and upon closer inspection it was revealed that it was in fact a 40ft tree carried across the Atlantic Ocean to the Cornish coast. Thought to of originated from the Everglades, it’s possible it was the victim of hurricane Katia. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2050590/The-barnacle-sea-monster-Everglades-tree-trunk-covered-weeds-creatures-washed-Devon-beach-uprooted-Hurricane-Katia.html

6. Deadly Jellyfish

The Portuguese Man O’War is probably the most widely recognised and feared jellyfish in the world, so you can imagine the panic when they started randomly washing up on Cornish beaches. They pack a powerful sting which can be deadly, and are normally found in subtropical regions of the Pacific Ocean. Experts urged beach goers to keep an eye out for the inflated floating alien like creature, and highlighted the fact that urine will not help stings. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/29/portuguese-man-o-war

5. £7,000,000 worth of Colombian Cocaine

Over a period of three weeks, seven suitcases full of Colombian’s finest cocaine worth £1m each were washed up on beaches across Cornwall and Devon. Various beach combers were left stunned when they found more than they bargained for, and it makes you wonder how many packages turned up and were not reported. It’s thought that they were dumped into the sea by smugglers while being pursued by American and British drug patrols. http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2008/feb/28/drugsandalcohol

4. 300 Year Old Sailor’s Leg Bone

When a teenager scoured the beach looking for a suitable cricket bat substitute, he thought he found the perfect ‘stick’. However, half way through the game a family friend who happened to be a doctor realised that the make shift ‘bat’ they were using was in fact a human leg bone. They later on found the right femur, pelvis and part of the lower spine and experts believe they are the 300 year old remains of a sailor who met his fate during a shipwreck on the rocks. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2000966/Leg-wicket-Stick-teenager-beach-play-cricket-actually—human-LEG-BONE.html

3. 3,500 Year Old Chieftain

This is where things start to get weirder. In 2008 the remains of a middle aged man were found in a stone casket, thought to date back to the bronze ages. Experts believe it may be a tribal chieftain due to the manner in which he was buried, or at the very least a highly regarded member of the community. The casket had been in plain sight for a substantial amount of time, with people sitting on and walking over it, oblivious to the fact that an ancient skeleton was entombed inside. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/3349660/Bronze-age-remains-may-be-tribal-chieftain.html

2. 100 tonne whale

Fin whales are the fastest whales in the ocean, capable of reaching speeds of up to 24knots. They are also the second largest of the species and can grow to an astonishing 85ft in length, so you can imagine the surprise on people’s faces when a 56ft 100 tonne decaying Fin whale washed up on a Cornish beach. Apparently the victim of a shipstrike in the Bay of Biscay, the hulking mass of rotting flesh could be smelt from the cliff tops. It’s always sad to see such a mysterious and wondrous beast of the depths has met its end, especially when the remains have to be cut up and disposed of in a landfill. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/23/100-tonne-whale-cornwall

1.     Dead Polar Bear

We end this article with the most bizarre discoveries of them all, and once again it takes place on the beaches of Bude. Residents and press were left astonished when the slouched corpse of a polar bear was washed up onto the pebbly shores, and word quickly spread around the country. Investigations were swiftly carried out as to how it had arrived, and came to a conclusion that left many news channels and witnesses red faced. It turns out that the ‘Polar Bear’ was in actual fact a dead cow that had been bleached white by the sea. Not very exciting at all really! http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/wildlife/8014541/ITV-embarrassed-by-report-of-polar-bear-washed-up-on-beach.html

That concludes our list of the 10 strangest things found on Cornish beaches. Have you ever found anything bizarre on the beach? Get involved in the comments below.

This article was written by Scott Fairhurst of PerfectStays.co.uk, who specialise in luxury self-catering properties in Cornwall.

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