Only a month into the new year, our offshore explorers have turned up some pretty fabulous discoveries. ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) and Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) directed their drillbits toward newfound hydrocarbon deposits offshore Brazil and Israel, respectively. Noble says its multi-trillion-cubic-foot Tamar prospect "appears to be the largest discovery in the company's history." For this long-tenured, multi-billion-dollar outfit, that's really saying something.

February has entered with a bang, and I mean that rather literally. In addition to Gulf of Mexico discoveries by Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) and Mariner Energy (NYSE:ME), a different sort of deepwater explorer has another dazzling find to its credit. 

I'm referring, of course, to shipwreck hunter Odyssey Marine Exploration (NASDAQ:OMEX). Do you remember this crew? I once made the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that Fools invest in shipwrecks and dead bodies. My point then was that weird little companies like Odyssey Marine can offer compelling investment opportunities.

Well, I haven't kept up with the Odyssey Marine story since then, but their latest discovery did grab my attention today. The firm, with a few major discoveries already to its credit, has located the HMS Victory, a great lost English man-of-war from the 18th century -- cannons and all. As with the "Black Swan" discovery, there is said to be a good bit of treasure on board, in the form of gold and silver coins. But that's not the only driving force behind Odyssey's potential monetization of these discoveries.

In partnership with Discovery Communications' (NASDAQ:DISCA) (NASDAQ:DISCB) Discovery Channel, Odyssey has filmed its expeditions for broadcast. Other marketing avenues include traveling exhibitions and direct sales of artifacts and replicas.

To me, this company remains more of a curio than a compelling investment, but my hat's off to the gentlemen for their latest quixotic success. 

Motley Fool CAPS participants appear wary of Odyssey Marine, awarding the shipwreck hunter a mere two stars. Weigh in with your own opinion right here.

Fool contributor Toby Shute is active in CAPS under the name TMFSmashy, but he doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.