By Josh Saunders
Fishermen fear they have found floating ‘HUMAN HEAD’ in the ocean but discover it’s a basketball beautifully covered in hundreds of barnacles.
Annie Gilbert, 54, from Poole, Dorset, feared to go near the bobbing object in the water 10-miles off the south coast of the Isle of Wight, initially fearing it to be human remains.
After drawing closer, Annie and husband Ian, who were travelling on their fishing boat the ‘Happy Hooker II’ realised it was a basketball and scooped it up.
But beneath the ball was an impressive crowd of crustaceans, up to one-hundred goose barnacles, forming an impressive beard-like appearance.
Not wanting to disrupt the marine crustaceans, the couple took pictures and quickly released them back to their natural environment.
Goose Barnacles have both male and female sexual organs, their eggs hatch into free-swimming larvae that would have attached themselves to the ball.
Once latching to an object, typically driftwood, barnacles never move unless forcibly evicted and feed by filtering food particles from the water.
Annie, a fisherman, said: “We discovered the basketball as we were on our way out to a fishing mark we saw something bobbing about in the water.
“When we first saw it just for a horrible moment we thought it was a human head but as we got alongside we saw it was a ball.
“As we came along side I got the landing net and scooped it up and that’s when we saw all the Goose Barnacles on it.
“It was something that we had never seen before, so we had to get some photos of it.
“The top of the basketball was clean but there must have been hundreds of the Goose Barnacles stuck to the underside of the ball where it had been sat in the water.
“We quickly photographed it the put it back into the sea as we didn’t want to damage any of the sea life that was attached to it.”