Photo by: Cody Cha

Cody Cha

Every Year, Thousands of Glass Orbs Are Hidden on This Oregon Beach

By: Ashley Gabriel

When you think of treasure hunters, it's typically Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones that come to mind. But modern-day treasure hunters do exist. In the coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon, beachcombers flock to the sand in hopes of finding one very specific treasure: glass fishing floats.

December 04, 2019

Marbles of the Sea

Commercial fishermen fish with large-scale nets that are sometimes strung together for many miles in the open ocean. To keep the nets from sinking, they attach floats: hollow globes and cylinders of varying sizes that provide buoyancy. While today's floats are made of plastic, aluminum, or styrofoam, that wasn't always the case. From the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, floats were made of colorful blown glass that looked more like oversized marbles than fishing equipment.

Glass floats were invented in Norway in 1842, when a merchant named Christopher Faye and a local glass company teamed up to find a replacement for the wooden and cork floats that had a tendency to get waterlogged. Glass, on the other hand, was lightweight and durable in marine environments, making it a perfect substitute. Southeast Asian countries, such as Japan, soon caught wind of this new invention and began mass-producing glass floats for their bustling commercial fishing industry. Over the decades, many floats from the Southeast were lost at sea. Today, they're trapped in a circular pattern of Pacific Ocean currents, coming loose during strong storms and washing ashore on beaches of the Pacific Northwest. Beachcombers flock to these areas in search of glass floats, but finding them is a rarity. That is, except in the artist town of Lincoln City, Oregon.

Photo by: Cody Cha

Cody Cha

Treasure Fairies

Every year from October through May, Lincoln City holds an event they call Finders Keepers. Residents who call themselves "Float Fairies" secretly hit the 7 miles of beach to hide more than 3,000 blown-glass floats for others to find. To keep things authentic, even the city doesn't know where they're hidden. The floats are handcrafted by Lincoln City's resident artists as a gift to modern treasure hunters and as an ode to the past, and a designated number of them are numbered and registered by the artist as collectibles. On special occasions, the Fairies also hide extra pieces of glass art such as sand dollars, sea stars, shells, and coins. Although it was initially intended as a one-time event, this nostalgic project has lasted for two decades, attracting tourism and support for the town's thriving art community.

This article first appeared on Click here to read the original article.

Next Up

Discover this Quaint Gem on the English Coast

Tucked in the corner of the southwest of rugged England, lies one of the country’s most-loved gems – Cornwall. The county forms a peninsula fringed with golden sandy beaches, lined with towering cliffs, and dotted with picturesque fishing villages that harken back to days gone by.

A Canadian Teen Once Discovered an Ancient Temple – Using Google Maps

Most teenagers while away hours playing video games, scrolling TikTok, or texting friends. Not William Gadoury, a 14-year-old from Saint-Jean-de-Matha, Quebec. Back in 2016, Gadoury was holed up in his bedroom, plotting ancient Mayan constellations against modern satellite images and coordinates.

4 Wonders of the Philippines

The Philippines is an island country in Southeast Asia, consisting of over 7,000 islands and islets. From rolling chocolate hills to caves and beaches for exploration, the Philippines has many places to explore and learn about!

You Can Hike to a 1950s Plane Wreck in Alaska's Talkeetna Mountains

A US Airforce bomber crashed in the mountains of Alaska during a training mission. Today, adventurous hikers can make the climb to bomber glacier to see what remains of the fuselage.

Unforgettable International Hiking Vacations

We've selected 5 unforgettable hiking vacations sure to lead you into the thick of your destination.

5 of America's Most Extreme Destinations

Join Discovery as we explore five of America's most extreme destinations: Denali, Alaska (highest peak); Death Valley, California (hottest, driest, and lowest); Prospect Creek, Alaska (coldest); Mt. Waialeale, Hawaii (wettest); and Paradise Visitors Center on Mount Rainier (snowiest).

Discovering Europe’s Last Wild Rivers

Rivers in the Balkans are largely free-flowing, unlike other bodies of water on the continent. They are home to endemic species of fish, provide habitats for birds, and a playground for watersport daredevils.

Historic Adventures Along Italy’s Mediterranean Coast

Perched on the dramatic coast of Italy, just north of Pisa, there are five small hamlets, known collectively as “The Cinque Terre”.

This Little-Known Hiking Path Explores One of the Deepest Gorges in the World

A trek through China's Tiger Leaping Gorge is a journey into the country's most ethnically diverse region, where beauty and fear hang intoxicatingly in the air.

Climb England’s Stomach-Churning Iron Way

Adventure into Victorian England with rickety bridges and vertical climbs across a 19th-century mine.