By Andrea Romano
March 30, 2019
For more than 30 years, plastic phones in the shape of the famous cat 'Garfield' have been washing up on French beaches. The mystery is now solved : a shipping container which washed up during a storm in the 1980s, was found in a hidden sea cave.
FRED TANNEAU/Getty Images

There’s way more to Garfield than his love of lasagna and his hatred for Mondays. He’s also been plaguing the coastline of a particular French beach for 35 years.

The plastic carcasses of bright orange, Garfield the Cat novelty phones have been mysteriously washing up on the Iroise coast in Brittany since the 1980s, the BBC reported. And the reason why, though not much of a shock, has finally been revealed.

“Our association has existed for 18 years and in that time we have found pieces of Garfield telephones almost each [sic] time we clean,” Claire Simonin, the head of local beach cleaning group Ar Viltansou, told CBS News.

Ar Vilantsou assumed the phones were coming from a shipping container, but they could never figure out where it was, according to the BBC. It was only recently that a local farmer, René Morvan, alerted them and local newspaper France Info, to the origin of the plastic phones: an obscure sea cave that was extremely difficult and dangerous to access.

According to France Info, as translated by Gizmodo, Morvan discovered the container after a storm in the 1980s when he and his brothers were exploring the nearby caves.

Nonetheless, members of the group decided to try to climb down into the slippery cave to try and see the store of phones that had not yet made it to shore, according to the BBC. Inside the cave, they spotted the shipping container that had been causing all their trouble buried in a rock fissure about 100 feet deep, according to CBS News.

“The mystery is solved,” said an Ar Vilantsou volunteer named Dominique, told France Info. “We found our treasure.”

Simonin said to CBS News that they found at least 23 complete handsets with electronics and wires at the entrance to the cave as well.

Fabien Boileau, director of the Iroise Marine Nature Park in Finistere, told CBS News that they have no information on where the shipping container came from. “And we don't know if several containers fell into the water, or only one.”

Plastic pollution is one of the more urgent environmental topics in the last few years. According to CBS News, scientists predict there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.

Since the cave is only accessible at low tide, removing the container and the rest of the cat phones may be difficult, if impossible. It’s uncertain how many phones are left inside the container after all these years.

Since the group currently cannot find a way to remove the container from the cave, the BBC reported that beach cleaners will continue to diligently sweep the coastline for more Garfield's.

The phones aren’t the first items to randomly appear en mass. Plenty of weird things have washed up on beaches over the years, including love letters, tombstones, Lego pieces, and even a small boat full of mannequins.

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