Friday, February 24, 2023

The international enigma, a baffling sphere on Japan beach, would be no mystery to Hawai'i beachgoers

(Image: Fuji News Network image of the globally baffling sphere on Hamamatsu City beach.)

A UFO. A dragon egg. A communist plot. Another spy balloon.


International media report they’re baffled by a mysterious metal sphere that washed up on a Japan beach.

It wouldn’t be baffling to any Hawai’i beachgoer, because we see them all the time. They wash up regularly, sometimes painted orange or yellow, but most often covered with brown-red rust. Big, hollow (or occasionally foam-filled) steel spheres used in various maritime activities.

The sphere in question, 4-5 feet in diameter, washed up on a long stretch of sand off Hamamatsu City. It caused great consternation, locally and internationally. It was isolated with yellow caution tape. Authorities subjected it to tests to determine it was empty. Eventually they hauled it off the beach and disposed of it.

And international media had fun with it. Perhaps because, after the Chinese balloon and the “pico” balloons shot down over Alaska, Canada and Lake Huron, we were primed for stories about weird round things.

The Guardian breathlessly wondered whether it was a “Spy Balloon, UFO or Dragon Ball” or maybe even a stray mine. 


The BBC called it a “mystery sphere” and said Japan was perplexed, with some folks calling it a “Godzilla egg.” 

Oh my. But, nope.

The British media network Unilad suggested some folks thought it was a devious device sent by China or North Korea. 

Uh, uh.

The India Times reported that February 23, 2023, Japanese authorities confirmed it was “marine equipment” that had washed ashore. 

They wash up periodically on Hawaiian beaches, too. They are industrial buoys, used by maritime industries for various purposes. One popular purpose in Hawai’i is as floats for FADs or fish aggregating devices. They are also used as moorings for ships, with one end chained to an anchor and the other tied to the boat. They are sometimes used to support oceanographic monitoring equipment.

And occasionally they break free and end up as marine debris on beaches.

You can buy them

And they don’t always come as spheres

Many, like the Hamamatsu City sphere, have connection points at both ends

© Jan TenBruggencate 2023

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