If you think this sounds like the plot of a cold-war era spy flick, well, you’re not wrong…
A mysterious 12-foot Soviet buoy washed ashore on Dania Beach in southern Florida following Hurricane Irma, the Sun Sentinel reports, mystifying authorities who have struggled to explain where it came from, or how it ended up in Florida.
Their best guess: The buoy was knocked loose by Irma and floated the 350 miles from Cuba to Florida.
As the Sun Sentinel notes, the buoy looks like it belongs in a James Bond movie. “?????????????? ????” - which the Library of Congress says is Russian for Hydrometrical Service of the USSR - is painted in black on its side.
The first word is an abbreviation for “Gidrometricheskaia,” which means “water-measuring,” like an instrument that measures water temperature, movement and depth, he said. Some Russian-language experts translate it as “Hydrometeorological,” referring to a branch of meteorology involving the study of water in the atmosphere.
Workers at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park pulled the buoy off the beach just days after Hurricane Irma swept through town. It almost immediately drew the attention of the Coast Guard, which tried to seize the buoy from the park.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Bill Moore, the park’s maintenance mechanic, spotted the buoy at the same time as the Coast Guard. He told the paper that his first thought was “You don’t find that too often.”
Officials from an administrative Coast Guard building located right next to the park tried to seize the buoy, but Moore retrieved it before they could take it. The buoy was too heavy to budge, so Moore tied a rope around it and with a skid-steer loader dragged it up the embankment and then brought it to the office’s parking lot.
“They tried to confiscate it.”
Robert Molleda, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the buoy could have come from Cuba, given the geographical proximity.
“In Irma, the storm came from the south-southeast. And in a storm like that, something could get dislodged,” he said. “It could go adrift and easily wind up in Florida.”
Since the buoy showed up, strange things have been happening at the park, according to one employee. At one point, a group of men claiming to work for the Navy investigative team came to inspect the buoy and offered to haul it away, but never returned.
“I said, ‘leave your business card,’” but the men left — without leaving a card — and haven’t returned.
We expect that it will be appended to the Russia collusion narrative by Monday.