The ice is gone for now and with it at least a half dozen of the buoys that are supposed to guide boaters through the tricky Westport Harbor entrance and channel.
“We know where they all are, they’re just not where they are supposed to be,” said Chris Leonard, the town’s director of marine services.
One especially important buoy wound up high and dry.
Lighted red buoy #14, which normally helps mariners round the entry channel corner out from near Charlton’s Wharf, was instead sitting up on the state beach next to Baker’s Beach at the foot of Bridge Street (runs south from Cherry & Webb Lane).
To rescue that one, Mr. Leonard called the Highway Department for help.
Westport Highway Surveyor Chris Gonsalves and crew arrived quickly with a front end loader which they drove out onto the beach and picked up the heavy buoy.
From there they took it back to the road where it was to be picked up for any needed repairs by the Coast Guard Aids to Navigation Station in Bristol and then put back on station.
For a time anyway, boaters were cautioned to use special care there since there was no buoy in that position a of midweek (last week).
Mr. Leonard said then that he was not clear on the timetable for replacement. That Coast Guard buoy maintenance station has its hands full as the ice picked up and carried away buoys all over the region.
The other wayward Westport buoys are the smaller, more easily moved buoys that direct boaters up the harbor channel as far as the FL Tripp & Sons boatyard.