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Real-life Spongebob and Patrick
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Real-life Spongebob and Patrick found in ocean near New York

NOAA scientists discovered what looks like a real-life Spongebob and Patrick deep in the Atlantic Ocean this week. (screenshot NOAA, overlay Nickelodeon)

Unless you’ve lived under a rock, much like Patrick the starfish, you’re probably familiar with a certain sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. 

Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had no nautical nonsense in mind as they made a discovery this week during an exploration dive with remote vehicles from the Okeanos Explorer.

During the dive on Tuesday to the Retriever Seamount about 200 miles off the coast of New York, scientists spotted a yellow Hertwigia sponge perched next to a pink Chondraster starfish, almost 6,200 feet under the sea. 

Lead biologist Dr. Rhian Waller spotted a pink starfish on the dive’s a live stream and asked the pilot to turn the cameras back around. That’s when Christopher Mah, an onshore sea star expert and research associate at the Smithsonian, made the connection to the Nickelodeon show.

“I normally avoid these ref[rences]..but WOW. REAL LIFE Sponge bob and Patrick! #Okeanos Retreiver seamount 1885 m,” Mah wrote on Twitter during the dive. 



“I thought it would be funny to make the comparison, which for once was actually kind of comparable to the iconic images/colors of the cartoon characters,” Mah told Business Insider. “As a biologist who specializes in sea stars, most depictions of Patrick and SpongeBob are incorrect.”

This real-life Spongebob and Patrick discovered by NOAA happened on the 19th dive as the agency is exploring what they call the ‘North Atlantic Stepping Stones,’ a series of deep underwater canyons off the northeast coast. 

So it may not be a Bikini Bottom, and it may not be a pineapple under the sea, but if you use your 🌈 imagination 🌈 it looks like there are indeed a few Goofy Goobers and quite possibly a real-life Spongebob and Patrick out there. 

Unfortunate for this pair though, starfish are carnivores and known to snack on sponges, so this one likely had food, rather than friendship on his mind. 


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