Oct 06, 2017 I Brett Tingley

Mysterious Cold-War Era Soviet Buoy Washes Up in Florida

More and more lately, I’ve been realizing that history is indeed a circle and the human race is doomed to repeat the same mistakes again and again. Many historians and writers ranging from the early Greek sophists to modern philosophers such as Nietzsche and Heinrich Heine have touched upon the concept of historic recurrence, and the idea is certainly no stranger to science fiction. The basic idea is that all things have happened before and have happened again, or that humanity exists in a constant loop in which the same ideas and events develop again and again. Kinda scary if you really start thinking about it.

buoy 4a
Blast from the past.

Case in point: a relic of the Cold War has washed up on the shores of Florida this week, baffling residents and officials alike and harkening back to the good ol' days of being on the brink of nuclear annihilation. Employees at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park in South Florida discovered the buoy earlier this month after Hurricane Irma swept over the state, dredging up all sorts of curiosities and wonders. The 1,200-pound buoy has the label Гидрометслужба СССР, which translates to "Hydrometrical Service of the USSR."

buoy 6a
Naval observation buoy, or something more sinister?

It’s unknown what the Soviet Union-era buoy was doing all this time or how it finally ended up in Dania Beach. Strangest of all: two plainclothes men in a white truck with federal government tags showed up and hauled it away just hours after its discovery, refusing to leave a business card. Park employees managed to snag only a few pictures of the curious relic before it was secreted away. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Washington, D.C. has not responded for comment.

buoy 5a
Can't let something like that fall into civilian hands.

Such buoys are commonly used by naval forces to monitor tide and weather conditions, but Harold M. Leich, Russian Area Specialist of the European Division of the Library of Congress, says the buoy likely had a second, more secretive purpose:

My best guess is the buoy, and probably many others just like it or similar to it, were placed by the Soviets as an aid to navigation for Soviet vessels bringing materials to Cuba or returning back to the USSR. In the chaos of the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the infrastructure placed by the Soviets simply remained in Cuba, including this buoy.

This buoy, in a way, is a symbol of larger geopolitical developments over the last year which seem to affirm the concept of historic recurrence. The Cold War appears to be rearing its head again, and rivalries between classic superpowers seem to be heating up once more. The strange, unexplained sonic attacks at the U.S. embassy in Cuba echo the spy heyday of the 1960s, as do the propaganda wars and (perhaps) Manchurian candidates alleged to be colluding with hostile governments. Things are getting weird, that’s for sure.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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