HILTON HEAD, SC. (WSAV) – With wind speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour, strong waves and an intense storm surge, Irma reached Hilton Head’s coast as a tropical storm and brought with her a gift…. a Coast Guard buoy washed up onto Coligny Beach, eight miles from its home at the mouth of the Port Royal Sound.
“The kids came down on Saturday with mom… and that’s all they could talk about while I was back in Atlanta – was the buoy,” said one father with his family.
Impossible to miss.
“Thirteen thousand pounds! That just amazes me, and the fact that it could wash up during a storm, it’s just unbelievable,” said another visitor from Atlanta.
“We were out here earlier taking a picture and then all of a sudden there was 20 people around doing the same thing,” said Trish Van Deventer from Nevada.
She’s not exaggerating—people are stopping by in groups to snap a photo with the new island icon.
“We actually talked about this on the way as we were driving here,” said Vicki Collins and with a group of her friends from Bluffton, “And we’re talking, talking, all of a sudden Cheryl said, ‘What is that thing down there?’ And we’re like ‘OH MY GOSH THAT’S THE BUOY let’s go down we’ve got to get out picture taken!’”
But it won’t be here forever, a buoy’s purpose is to guide boats in the ocean, and on Coligny Beach, it can’t-do its job.
With a price tag of $24,000, the Coast Guard says it need go back.
Until then, it remains a symbol… Hilton Head is its own kind of anchor.
The Coast Guard says they don’t’ want to drag it back to sea and ruin any of the environment, so they are looking having an army helicopter air lift it out, but that could take weeks.