It took a hurricane to find a 3-ton, nearly 20-foot buoy that went missing last year off the Eastern Shore.
On Thursday, it took a joint effort by the Coast Guard, the city of Virginia Beach and the Navy to move it again.
The green No. 5 buoy had been missing since at least September 2014 from its spot marking a sandbar about 10 miles northeast of Assateague Lighthouse, near the Eastern Shore’s Virginia-Maryland border. The Coast Guard learned it was gone when a crew went to do routine maintenance on it and couldn’t find it, according to Chief Petty Officer NyxoLyno Cangemi, an assistant public affairs officer.
Cangemi said the crew asked ships if they had seen the green pencil-shaped marker, but they couldn’t find it.
Then Hurricane Joaquin passed by the coast earlier this month, and there it was — stuck on the sand between 6th and 7th streets at the Oceanfront.
On Tuesday morning, members of the Navy’s Amphibious Construction Battalion Two attached a line to the buoy and towed it off the beach with a boat. Once the prize was in the water, it took about 20 minutes for the crew to pull it to a larger Coast Guard ship.
Next stop: Portsmouth, where the marker will be refurbished and cleaned. The Coast Guard is looking for a new home for it.