As summer heads into its last month in the northern hemisphere, kids will head back to school, grills will be draped in their off-season tarps, and beaches will lose their huge crowds. Of course, the sands will never truly go unoccupied. The waves just keep coming, bringing ashore all kinds of oddities. Here are a few onshore arrivals that have caused beachgoers to think, "Huh???"
For starters, how about bananas? Yes, bananas. Here beaches at Terschelling and Ameland in the Netherlands are covered in bananas on Nov. 7, 2007. It seems, after some investigation, that containers from the cargo ship Duncan Island went overboard and found their way onto the beach.
Sometimes a creature washes up, and the only thing for a sensible person to do is make the leap straight to aliens, or some sort of demonoid. Here, a decaying carcass off San Diego in 2012 had people thinking "Chupacabra," the livestock-eating hall of famer of cryptid lore.
What are we really looking at here? Evidence pointed to an opossum.
When a giant Lego man washes up on a beach, it tends to garner some attention. This one, and others like it did just that. Shown is a Lego giant on Brighton Beach, England in October 2008. Another of his kind washed up on a Florida beach in 2011.
Giant Lego guy was 8 feet tall, although only 100 pounds, which would be a tad thin for an 8-footer, were he not a fake pseudo-person made of fiberglass.
Perhaps spoiling a bit of the fun, it turned out Lego man was a bit of performance art from a Dutch artist.
Possibly the only thing more oddly sinister-looking than a giant Lego man washing ashore would be a flotilla of rubber ducks. Used to floating in bodies of water roughly the size of a bathtub, a super-fleet of some 28,000 rubber duckies was instead loosed upon the North Pacific when a cargo ship's container took a gainer into the sea.
The toys were on their way to the United States from China, and the little yellow mariners were spotted as far away as the shores of Maine and elsewhere along the Atlantic coastline.
For a type of land usually walked barefoot, it was ironic for thousands of shoes to wash ashore on the Dutch island of Terschelling (the Dutch seem to have all the beach oddities fun). Just as with the rubber ducks, the sneakers were lost at sea when a storm jostled overboard the containers of a cargo ship.
When the beach brings you shoes, what do you do? You see if any are to your liking and your size, as these shoe hunters are doing.
Speaking of sneakers, it's not without precedent to see them wash up on shore, only with something horrifying inside them: feet.
Over the course of few years in the late 2000s in British Columbia and Washington, 11 feet in running shoes washed up on shore, sparking speculation that a serial killer might be nearby.
As it happened, though, there was no evidence found that the feet were hacked off, having instead separated from their legs on their own in the water, due to decomposition. The shoes, meanwhile, helped preserve the feet. Who belonged to the feet? Investigators concluded they were most likely bridge-jumping suicides and not connected with each other in any grisly fashion.
Finally, what beach would be complete without a bottle with a message in it? There have been more than a few famous messages of this kind. For example, the sad tale of the 10-year-old boy who put a simple "If you find this, put it on the news" message in a bottle and tossed it in his hometown lake. The boy grew up to be a Marine who survived his tour of duty in Iraq, only to die in a car accident just months after his discharge. His long-ago-tossed bottle was found soon after his death, and its message was sent to his mother, who took comfort in the feeling that her son was telling her he was "OK."
You just never know what's floating out there in the water.