In December 2015 storms Desmond, Eva and Frank battered the Pembrokeshire coast, reshaping many of its beaches and damaging extensive stretches of the coast path. However, the aesthetic alterations were not the most interesting product of the storms, thanks to the arrival of a mysterious large red buoy at Druidstone Beach, near Broadhaven. Markings on the buoy read “Buoy no. NF 2507 Dept. of Transport, Canada 1973”, leading many beach-goers to marvel at the prospect of a car-sized chunk of metal that had drifted across the Atlantic all the way from Canada. Pembrokeshire is no stranger to miscellaneous items washing up on its beaches, however this particular alien piqued the interest of some very curious individuals, who decided to contact the Canadian authorities to determine its exact origin.
The Canadian authorities confirmed that the buoy was in fact a Starboard side Estuary Buoy (red is the colour of Starboard side Navigation Buoys in Canadian waterways) originating from Lord’s Cove, Newfoundland, approximately 2,254 miles from Druidstone Haven. This would lead us to assume that the buoy broke free of its anchor and floated east towards the Gulf Stream, where it was carried across the Atlantic to Pembrokeshire.
Such an incredible journey, largely uninfluenced by shipping traffic, ocean gyres and a plethora of other obstacles could arguably warrant a Spielberg-esque epic portraying the trials and tribulations of a 2,000+ mile trans-Atlantic. Or perhaps not. In any case, the buoy represents one of the many anomalies that proliferate the coastal environment, who knows what may wash ashore next!
Written by Rhodri Davies, Research Intern, 2017