WESTERLY — Lodged underwater about 10 feet off the shoreline at low tide at East Beach is a mysterious circular metal object with stainless steel legs that are capped with concrete. It is prompting both intrigue as to its provenance and concern because it presents a hazard to swimmers and body surfers.
Whatever the object is, one thing is clear — it’s very heavy as it appears to stay in place, as if rooted to the bottom of the sea, despite the considerable force of the surf. Peter Brockmann, who is president of the East Beach Association, which cares for the beach, said the association now thinks the object was first discovered last summer but could not be found after an initial spotting. If that’s true, it has withstood a year’s worth of tidal changes, waves, and storms.
“A lot of people are curious about this thing, trying to find out what it is,” Brockmann said during an interview Wednesday.
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Brockmann has been studying the mysterious object for about six weeks and is trying to determine its origin. It is about 40 yards west of the Niantic Avenue entrance to the beach.
Brockmann has played the role of detective, snapping photos of the object and sharing them with various agencies and oceanic experts in hopes of determining what it is or is not. At this point, Brockmann said, officials are confident it is not an explosive or an in-use navigational device.
Soon, the association hopes to remove the object from the water.
“We wanted to figure out what it is before we go tugging on it,” Brockmann said.
Brockmann contacted Stonington Harbor Master Eric Donch to see if the object might be related to a commercial fishing endeavor. Donch said no. A U.S. Navy admiral also could not identify it. The folks at Deepwater Wind said the object has nothing to do with their Block Island wind farm. [….]