An oversize visitor from the north cloaked in red came to visit New Smyrna Beach for the holidays and has been generating a lot of excitement around here. No, I’m not talking about jolly old St. Nick. He comes around every year. This event is probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
News reports say that this huge navigation buoy floated south along the Atlantic coast after Hurricane Dorian last year before beaching itself here. Since it first washed ashore it has been drawing visitors from across the state.
The Coast Guard and local authorities are going to try to figure out how to move it today so Terry and I decided to go check it out yesterday while it was still here.
The 21-foot tall buoy weighs 13,000 pounds, and to put its size into perspective, the gentleman standing in front of it with the sunglasses on is about 6 feet tall. We’ve had some stormy weather recently and the sea has been very rough, which explains why the buoy ended up near the sand dunes, at least 30 yards from the water.
The buoy was originally placed at Port Royal Sound, South Carolina according to Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan Dickinson, the spokesman for the Coast Guard’s Sector Jacksonville, which oversees the Atlantic coastline near New Smyrna Beach.
One news report said that this is not the first time Red Buoy Number 8 has pulled a disappearing act. Though buoys are usually attached by a thick chain to large pieces of concrete on the ocean’s floor, the same buoy broke free of its moorings during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and wound up on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Beach. It was returned to its original location, only to go on the lam again, this time turning up in our neighborhood. At least for now, it will be stored at the New Smyrna Beach Coast Guard station, and eventually will be returned to service at Port Royal Sound once again. But one has to wonder if it will stay there this time, and if not, where the free-spirited buoy will go next.
Anytime is a great time to go to the beach, and even though the temperature was only in the mid-60s and breezy late New Year’s Day afternoon, there were still people out soaking up the salt air, and a hardy few even going in and out of the water. The storms have calmed down for now, but the surf was still pounding the shore.
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake series. This copy has the original cover, before I commissioned Elizabeth Mackey to design all of my book covers. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – I’ve reached the age where when I hear a suspicious noise in the house late at night, instead of getting out of bed to check it out, I just roll over and think to myself “Meh, whatever. I had a good run.”