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So on the Shipwreck Coast map zone I've found two of these buoys and I've no idea what they are for. You can pull them with rope arrows and kick them with F.

I assumed at first that you needed to move them around to allow you to jump up to some ledges, but I don't see anything obvious.

Are they for anything other than environment flavour?

Red buoy wrapped in rope

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Those two buoys are indeed the key to a secret area (the big rock formation right near the initial location of the buoys). You will need these to achieve the Cairn Raider achievement.

Cairn Raider - Find the five Cairns on Shipwreck Beach. Lara may find all the needed Cairns after she retrieves the block and tackle for Reyes and Jonah from the first shipwreck.

This link describes the secret and also shows how to get there.

For this section, with two buoys.

Lara needs to manuever two floatation buoys to reach a climb-able wall

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    When providing a link, please provide a quick summary of the information in that link that is relevant to the question. The link might go dead sometime in the future and your answer will become invalid. – Yuuki Sep 9 '13 at 19:50
  • Thanks Yuki, I'll keep that in mind for future answers. Thanks for editing the answer to provide the additional information, too :) – Olli Sep 10 '13 at 18:19

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