Mar. 19—PLUM ISLAND — Navigating the potentially treacherous mouth of the Merrimack River became a little easier earlier this week with the return of a 13,000-pound U.S. Coast Guard buoy.
The massive marker was ripped from its mooring and deposited on Plum Island Beach in Newbury after a powerful nor'easter tore through the region Jan. 31.
The buoy had been anchored just east of the river's entrance and marked the northern side of the channel before it broke loose and ended up on the beach. The Coast Guard was immediately tasked with not only retrieving its property, but advising mariners the marker was no longer where it was supposed to be located.
The buoy remained on the beach for weeks until a Newbury excavation crew lifted it onto a flatbed truck. It was then brought to the excavation company's headquarters and remained there until the U.S. Coast Guard retrieved the buoy.
During its stay on Plum Island, the buoy became an instant attraction for walkers, residents, schoolchildren and day-trippers.
On Wednesday, U.S. Coast Guard Station Merrimack River announced via Facebook that the No. 2 Merrimack River buoy was back where it should be after hitching a ride with Cutter Marcus Hanna.
Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.