WATCH: A U.S. navigational buoy washed up on Island View Beach Wednesday night, its ringing bells keeping the neighbourhood awake. April Lawrence reports.
Past the driftwood and pebble shores of Island View Beach was an odd sight Friday morning.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Henry Blake had arrived in Canadian waters on a mission to pick up a stranded buoy.
“It’s not too often you get the U.S. Coast Guard lining up on your beach,” said resident Jamie Vandenbossche.
Residents from nearby homes showed up not just to witness the salvage but also to celebrate. As they watched on through a sleepless fog, they said the buoy landed on the beach, its bell ringing out at 3 a.m.
“It was loud enough that I was going to get in my car and go down and see what was going on. It was that loud,” said Vandenbossche.
“I didn’t know what it was at the time. It sounded like it was just someone down here having fun,” said resident Paul Harper.
Unsure where to turn, Harper called the Canadian Coast Guard.
“I thought we were in for a sleepless summer so I thought I better do something,” he said. “And they were humming and hawing as to whose responsibility it was to come and pick it up.”
It’s believed the buoy broke free during Wednesday’s wind storm, which saw wind speeds of 70 kilometres an hour in Victoria. They were even stronger offshore.
The navigational buoy was anchored at Point Partridge near Whidbey Island but was pushed by those strong winds right across the Salish Sea, beaching itself on a sandbar just off Island View.
With a little assistance from the tides, the Coast Guard crew was able to tie up the buoy Friday morning, pull it off the sandbar and tow it to the Henry Blake where a crane lifted it to safety.
“Everyone’s a little tired we’ll be glad to be getting some sleep tonight,” Harper joked.