The sea is, in many ways, its own frontier. With most of the earth being covered by water, it stands to reason that humankind has not even really broached the surface of what lies at sea.

It's also home to many mysteries. Some too frightening to take back with you to land.

An unlucky few have borne witness to those mysteries.

u/missfattifatti asked:

What is the scariest thing you've witnessed at sea?

Here were some of those stories.

TW: Disturbing images, including violence and suicide.

Truly Dead Calm

Worked the shrimp boats in the Gulf back in the '70s. 100 miles off the coast of Louisiana and the sea got dead calm. I mean dead calm, not a ripple or a swell.

The sea was so calm that vibrations from the engine idling would make little ripples in the water. The surface of the sea looked like a huge never ending mirror extending out in all directions.

The visual memory I have of seeing that perfectly flat sea in the moonlight is deeply etched in my memory and I can see it today in my mind just as real as if it was happening now.

I could talk about 25 foot seas in the middle of a hurricane, or a half dozen water spouts dancing around us during a summer squall, or sargassum seaweed as far as the eye could see so thick around the boat that you could walk on it, or flying fish all taking flight at the same time like a flock of birds skimming across the water. but none of that stuff had the impact on me like the dead calm of the sea 100 miles offshore.


Jumpy Jumpy

My dad and I were sailing in the Sea of Cortez, it was early morning with some patchy surface fog. I was 14 or 15 at the time.

We heard what sounded like applause in the distance, but becoming louder. We could soon see a patch of disturbed water getting closer and closer and hundreds of objects flying out of the water and splashing back down. A few of them flew out, hit the deck of the boat and bounced back into the water.

Stingrays. A whole school of them, jumping out of the water for some reason. It was weird and awesome.


An Earthquake At Sea

US Merchant Marine here, sailing 4 years as of 4 days ago. I witnessed an earthquake while on board:

First off, easily the scariest moment of my professional career (so far). In transit along the West coast of Mexico just after lunch, just working through my Noon duties. Just my AB and myself on the bridge.

All of a sudden the ship starts shaking, slightly at first, gradually building into a seriously violent, pounding shake. The best way I can describe it is that it was similar to airplane turbulence, just slower and harder shaking. Of course, I am ~shook~. It only lasted about 30 seconds, but it was terrifying.

My AB and I are on both bridge wings looking to see if there's something in the water that we could've hit (a submerged container?). I'm verifying our position in every way possible, making sure we didn't just sniff the bottom somehow (being the Navigator on board, I'd be in deep sh*t if this were true. Better dust off the ol' resume).

Captain comes up to the bridge, "What in the holy hell is going on?" Engine room gets called, they start checking the voids spaces, machinery spaces, and bilges. Chief Mate comes to the bridge, gets the Bosun and the deck gang to start sounding all the tanks.

Phones and radios are going off left and right, everyone is asking me what happened and I've got no answers for them. After about 15 minutes, things start to settle down, and nothing seems to be out of the ordinary.

Capt heads down to his office to call the office and presumably sign me the heck off the ship I assume. He comes up about 20 minutes later with a printout from the internet. About 15 miles away from us, there was a 7.5 magnitude earthquake under the surface.

The amount of relief that washed over my entire body was almost orgasmic. Nothing seemed to be damaged in the aftermath, we all had a good laugh about it later. The Captain said I was white as a ghost when he came up.


Big Ships, BIIIIIG Ships

I tell my kids this story. A lesson in stupid. I was skippering a yacht from France back to England. Its the middle of the night and theres a thick fog.

The winds are light so i've lashed the sails out in a goose wing (dont do this if you need to change course fast). Suddenly out of the fog comes a freighter. It was like a moving appartment building and it was close. Ive never been that close to a freighter. I didnt have time to to cut the lashes, get all hands on deck, start the engine or anything. I wheeled about and let the tiny puffs of wind pull us away. It was all over in minutes.

I should not have lashed the sails. I should have had someone below ready to start the engine. But for a hundred yards of water i might have killed everyone. If you sail, learn from my mistake.



When I was 14, the family made a stop on a vacation at a beach for a day and a night. To walk into the beach you walked up stairs, down stairs, through a tide pool, and then on to sand.

That evening I decided I wanted to walk on the beach. It's a new moon. I also knew nothing about how tides work, really.

I walk up the steps, down the steps, into the tide pool...and into the tide pool...and into the tide pool.

I realized the tide pool had become the ocean and due to no moon and my panic, I couldn't get my bearings. I'm flailing and trying to run through water to figure out where shore is.

Eventually, my foot hits a dune and I scramble up the sand, burrs in my palms and grass cutting up my legs.



Went fishing in Corpus Christi one time and a friend of mine took us out on a little boat at night, pretty calm night and we are having fun drinking and fishing. Hear some knocking on the bottom of the boat friend says it just fish. I think nothing of it, I cast over the side and an just sitting there enjoying the night and listening to stories.

When I look over and see movement in the water then all of a sudden three guys come up out o00f the water and lol at me and I start freaking out then go back under water and one guy puts his finger to his mouth like shhhhhhh and I jump and tell my friends.

They know I don't scare easily so we high tail it outta there. Next day we tell some other friends what happen and they laugh, come to find out navy seals and other armed forces were doing training maneuvers where we were at. .... definitely scared the heck outta me.


By The Light Of The Moon

Lifelong sailor and I've been unlucky enough to see some pretty bad things, but honestly the scariest thing I've seen is a seaweed converted hand coming out of the water. Me, the moron, didn't realise it was just a rubber glove that was full of air.

More seriously, I was once doing rescue for a sailing regatta. It was nationals and there were around 200 boats out. They were mirrors, so crewed by kids around 12-16. Between the second and third race we were hit by a massive squall. In 60 seconds every boat has capsized and there were kids in the water, we had to scramble, some of the kids were exhausted and we had to help right more than one of the boats (normally you wouldn't do that). Being in charge of the rescue it was a bit worrying, but the guys working for me were great and they managed to keep the fleet safe and has cleared it up in about 5 minutes.


Boom Boom Splah

In the Persian Gulf in 1988-89 Iran and Iraq had been at war for years and had mined each other's harbors. The mines had begun breaking loose and floating around.

We would spot one and go to GQ (battle stations) and mine was in Repair Locker 2 below deck all the way forward. I remember thinking if we hit a mine, I'll have just enough time to recognize what happened before I die.


-Guitar Riff-

I was scuba diving in Key West when I was 10 or so. My father jumped in the water before me and it kicked up a lot of sand underwater. I jumped in after him and I noticed he was pointing to something right in front of us. I looked at him again and he was waving his hands, gesturing to back off.

The water cleared up and thats when I saw it. A 3-4 foot long barracuda within arms reach of me. For a tense few seconds the barracuda and I just stared at each other. I felt like it was sizing me up. It then flicked its tail and it bolted out of sight. It's was both exhilarating and frightening at the same time.


Image by tookapic from Pixabay

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They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!