Wayward Bouy Connects Victoria With Tiny Island

February 12, 2005
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A Carmanah Technologies’ light brightened the day of a headmaster living on a small Shetland Island.

The light, made by the Victoria company which specializes in solar-powered lighting, was attached to a five-metre tall Canadian Coast Guard buoy deployed off Newfoundland. The buoy broke free and rode the waves across the Atlantic Ocean to end up on tiny Papa Stour, on the west side of the Shetland Archipelago.

“It was amazing,” says Mimi Drabit, coast guard liason for Carmanah Technologies.

Not only did the light and its bouy complete the 5,800 kilometre journey, but the light was flashing when it was found on the rocky, rugged coast.

Papa Stour is just three kilometres by five kilometres and has 34 miles of coastline.

You can see more photographs of the buoy on the Island’s Web site, under the coast guard category. Go to: www.papastour.shetland.co.uk.

The site said that the buoy arrived in December.

The Web Site said: “This had come from Canada with its green light flashing.”

Papa Stour resident Simon Calvin e-mailed Carmanah two weeks ago and said that it “washed up on our shores, a wee bit AWOL.”

Calvin added: “I’m a teacher on Papa, the school only has two kids, and we are all very interested in ‘our’ buoy!”

The light has been in service for a couple of years but it isn’t known exactly where it had been deployed, Drabit said Friday. The company is waiting to hear from the Canadian Coast Guard.

It was one of a group of lights sold to the coast guard for about $1,500 each, she said. It is made to be seen from three nautical miles and is solar-powered. A photo sensor triggers it to flash from dawn to dusk. Weighing about eight kilograms, the light is 33 centimetres tall and attached to the buoy.

Carmanah immediately sent off information about Vancouver Island and has posted a parcel with company T-shirts, hats and some First Nations designs on tea towels and change purses.

“We have sort of become e-mail pals,” Drabit says.

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