Free enamel pin when you buy any two Atlas Obscura products. Shop now.

Found: Three Dozen Giant, Mysterious Disks of Compressed Trash

They smelled.

In Carova, North Carolina, on the skinny islands of the Outer Banks, Jeff Kelly was walking the beach at high tide when he came across a series of strange objects, unlike any beach trash he’d seen before, Coastal Review Online reports. They were large, round disks, made of multicolored plastic—the Virginian-Pilot describes them as “tabletop-sized.”

They looked to be partially melted, and they smelled. As Kelly walked the coastline, he counted the disks, and in the next three miles, he found 26 in total, with more strewn on the beach farther north.

He had “no clue,” he told Coastal Review Online, what the disks were or where they had come from.

But one contained a clue—a document encapsulated with the plastic, face side up. It said “Commander Naval Surface Force Atlantic.”

The disks, it turned out, were of the type that the Navy uses to store plastic trash on its ships while they’re at sea. The trash is compacted into disks and sealed in odor-barrier bags for safe and non-disgusting storage. The disks reportedly included: “Welch’s Fruit Snacks, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, Cup ‘O’ Noodles, Crystal Light drink powder, gummy worms candies, Lay’s potato chips, containers of coffee creamer, granola bars, plastic bottles and soda cans.”

They’re not supposed to be thrown into the ocean, but somehow dozens of these trash discs made it into the sea. (Perhaps in a game of trash frisbee?)