‘UFO’ making waves at Papaa

  • Contributed

    The pie-slice-shaped piece of flotsam initially reported off Papaa Bay was moved to shore by this week’s King Tide.

  • Courtesy Skip Schaefer

    The unidentified floating object reported near Papaa Bay on Kauai has moved to shore, months after it was discovered in the surf.

ALIOMANU — A “UFO” reported in the Aliomanu beach area had been rolling around in the surf there since May, though Wednesday and Thursday’s King Tides pushed the “unidentified floating object” closer to shore.

And two agencies are passing responsibility for removal.

Friday, Skip Schaefer of Kauai again reported the “UFO” about 300 yards south of Papaa Bay, saying he’s been watching the debris and that, now, “the UFO is clearly on the beach.”

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has been working on bids to get the object removed from the surf.

Friday, however, DLNR said it’s not responsible now that it’s moved onto the beach.

“If it’s on the beach we think it is a county responsibility, at least it is on Oahu,” said DLNR representatives in a statement on Friday. “We unfortunately don’t have DAR (Division of Aquatic Resources) staff currently on Kauai.”

County of Kauai representatives said the Parks Department is coordinating with DLNR, though they said it’s DLNR’s responsibility to remove it.

“We reached out to DLNR,” according to a county statement Friday. “The object is in the jurisdiction of DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation.”

Exactly what the UFO is is a mystery. Some say the metallic, oddly shaped structure looks like part of a boat.

Usually, Surfrider’s net patrol combines a team of volunteers to tackle nets, plastic and other marine debris from the shorelines on Kauai — and other organizations like B-Rad Foundation team up volunteers for beach cleanups, too.

But this particular object is requiring some major muscle to move.

“It has been there for months (and is) something beyond Surfrider volunteers’ ability,” said Surfrider Kauai Chapter Vice Chair Barbara Wiedner on Friday. “I actually stopped by the (DLNR) office last month to see what was going on. They have bids in for removal.”

It was reported in May by beach-goers who found the object sitting on the reef. It’s big — taller than some of the people in photos taken next to the object, and was in a difficult spot to reach for retrieval. Now, though, it’s sitting on the sand for the most part, surrounded by shallow surf at higher tides.


Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or jelse@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Neal Raj Mathur August 4, 2019 4:12 am Reply

    …just another Fukushima artifact

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