Rio Rides High
  |  First Published: October 2009

At the end of our epic walk on Hinchinbrook Island (see Three old farts and the Greek, Sept 09 QFM ), we all spent some time walking the high tide line along the southern beach at George Point and found quite a surprise.

On one of these strolls along the deserted beach Paul ventured up along the tree line and found what seemed at first to be a satellite dish of some sort. On closer inspection it turned out to be a satellite buoy. It looked to be in good condition and the only signs of wear were the broken heavy tethering ropes.

It had hand-painted numbers on it and the name plate inside was easily read. The name ZUNIBAL stood out, but it had no other visible information. We attempted to lift it but soon found it was too heavy, especially if we contemplated carrying it back to the camp 2km away – no thanks! So we had no choice but to leave it high and dry.

However, curiosity got the better of us and back in Tin Can Bay I got on the web and started searching. It didn't take long to find the Zunibal website. I sent off a detailed email hoping to get some information about our find.

The next day I received an email in broken English. It basically told me to “Take it to the rubbish tip". I sent off another email enquiring about the origins and what purpose this buoy was used for.

Well, what a surprise! The buoy was a test buoy and was placed in the Pacific Ocean to track tuna schools. And it was set free 12 months ago off the coast of South America! It amazingly ended up here on the coast of Australia and, thanks probably to cyclone Larry, placed high and dry amongst the trees.

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