Storm pulls buoy from its moorings

BUOY WHAT A STORM: Leon (top) and Sacha Nunn climb aboard a beached buoy as Indie the dog watches in front of the carpark area near Beacon Reserve this morning. The 630-kilogram mid-channel buoy broke loose from its chains in yesterday’s stormy weather and ended up on the beach. Pictures by Paul Rickard
The buoy’s light stands out in the shallows early last night. Eastland Port general manager Andrew Gaddum said they would be investigating how it got free but it was “better a buoy than a ship”.

FROM a distance it looked like the Statue of Liberty half-buried in the shoreline in the 1968 movie Planet of the Apes, but it turned out to be one of the new mid-channel buoys, washed in by big seas.

The green, starboard-side buoy broke loose last night and was washed shorewards. It is one of two mid-channel buoys installed about a year ago. By this morning the buoy had beached in the shallows east of Beacon Reserve.

“We don’t know why it has come loose but will investigate,” said Eastland Port Limited general manager Andrew Gaddum.

“We will recover it at low tide this afternoon. Better a buoy than a ship.”

The buoys are anchored to the seabed by chains and large concrete blocks.

“They have been through several storms before this. Four to five metre waves were recorded last night but we have had bigger seas in the past year,” Mr Gaddum said.

A flashing light on top of the buoy was still working as it floated shorewards last night. The light is on a daylight switch so it had turned off by this morning.

The 630kg buoy will not be stable so people are advised to stay well clear of it, Mr Gaddum said.

The new buoys were installed to replace the old port approach lead lights at Midway Beach. New lights were also added to Butlers Wall and the breakwater.

“The synchronised lights now give that airport runway effect, flashing in a three-second sequence, and the lights use 30 watts of power to achieve intensities that previously needed 250 watts,” marine manager Captain Chris Kaye told The Gisborne Herald last month.

FROM a distance it looked like the Statue of Liberty half-buried in the shoreline in the 1968 movie Planet of the Apes, but it turned out to be one of the new mid-channel buoys, washed in by big seas.

The green, starboard-side buoy broke loose last night and was washed shorewards. It is one of two mid-channel buoys installed about a year ago. By this morning the buoy had beached in the shallows east of Beacon Reserve.

“We don’t know why it has come loose but will investigate,” said Eastland Port Limited general manager Andrew Gaddum.

“We will recover it at low tide this afternoon. Better a buoy than a ship.”

The buoys are anchored to the seabed by chains and large concrete blocks.

“They have been through several storms before this. Four to five metre waves were recorded last night but we have had bigger seas in the past year,” Mr Gaddum said.

A flashing light on top of the buoy was still working as it floated shorewards last night. The light is on a daylight switch so it had turned off by this morning.

The 630kg buoy will not be stable so people are advised to stay well clear of it, Mr Gaddum said.

The new buoys were installed to replace the old port approach lead lights at Midway Beach. New lights were also added to Butlers Wall and the breakwater.

“The synchronised lights now give that airport runway effect, flashing in a three-second sequence, and the lights use 30 watts of power to achieve intensities that previously needed 250 watts,” marine manager Captain Chris Kaye told The Gisborne Herald last month.

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