Visitors to the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve took in a rare sight on Wednesday afternoon as a helicopter lifted a large navigation buoy off Florencia Bay’s beach
The roughly 7,700-kilogram Carolina Channel Light and Whistle Buoy Y42, colloquially known as ‘Red Can,’ was swept away from its usual spot off Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point during a particularly rough winter storm last week and crashed onto Florencia’s shore.
“We believe it was a storm event that caused the buoy to move off position,” Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada spokesperson Michelle Imbeau told the Westerly News in an email.
It was lifted by a helicopter and flown out to the waiting Canadian Coast Guard vessel Sir Wilfred Laurier, which carried it back to Amphitrite Point.
“The Laurier retrieved the buoy, lifted it onboard the deck, attached new mooring and anchor, and then placed the buoy back into position,” Imbeau said adding some repairs were needed before the buoy could be put back.
“The buoy lost its mooring and anchor, and broke one solar panel. These were replaced prior to placing the buoy back into position.”
A ‘Red Can’ buoy has served as a navigational aid to mariners off Amphitrite since 1904. The most recent ‘Red Can’ was installed in 2014.
“The buoy marks a 10.5 m shoal that is a hazard for approaching marine traffic negotiating the entrance to Carolina Channel,” Imbeau said.