Re: Things you have found underwater

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Posted by Patrick on March 23, 2010 at 16:18:52:

In Reply to: Things you have found underwater posted by JohnC on March 08, 2010 at 19:08:57:

Of the many weird and unusual things I’ve found UW over the years including voodoo charms/fetishes, bodies, weapons, body parts etc., perhaps the strangest wasn’t so much the items, but the way I found them situated on the bottom.

The dive was a couple of years ago outside Long Beach on the SE side of the what for many years was known as the Horseshoe Kelp.

It had been a nice dive - 80-90 feet on a natural rock reef structure. Some sparse kelp on the structure and flowing swaths of ribbon kelp along the bottom with many areas of the reef encrusted with Corynactus and a nice diversity of piscatorial residents to commune with.

With bottom time running down, I decided to make a swing down the reef/sand interface before ascending. Glancing over the sand, I saw an object, more a dark something, about 20 feet off the reef structure and swam closer to check it out. As I got closer I could see it was a man-made object. It was a very nice marble vase with just a light coating of calcareous growth. But the weird part was it was sitting upright, perched atop a mound of .50 cal. shell casings. The mound was approximately 18-inches to 24-inches high – a perfectly formed pyramid of expended brass shell casings. By this time my bottom time was gone, so I threw a couple of the casings in my pocket, grabbed the vase and ascended.

On the surface we rather quickly determined that the “vase” was actually a mortuary urn. A small tag on the neck (once cleaned) identified the deceased as having passed away the year before (2007) and in his early 40s.

The .50 cal. shell casings were scraped clean and both were of 1943 vintage.

The vase was returned to the sea where it came from, but the questions generated were several – how did the urn get there in the first place? If it was placed by a diver, where would you get enough WWII .50 cal shell casings to build a 2-foot high mound? And why? The deceased wasn’t a WWII vet. The idea that it was a chance burial at sea that ended up sitting atop a mound of expended WWII ordinance is a coincidence beyond belief.

So it remains one of the most curious and mysterious of my finds at sea.

Stay wet...

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