Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tsunami Debris Begins Washing Up On BC Shores

The Kuroshio ocean current runs in an almost direct path from Japan's east coast over to North America, passing right by the islands of Haida Gwaii.

The Haida Gwaii Islands, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, have begun seeing its first large tsunami debris items. Earlier in March of this year an entire fishing vessel was found. It was scuttled by the US Coast Guard before it reached Alaska.


Photo of the cube box used to store a bike and other items

April 29th, Peter Mark found a large white cube just below the high tide mark while visiting a remote beach on the Haida Gwaii. The cube box was mostly intact and contained golf clubs, a few camping items and a Harley Davidson motorcycle. It showed signs of rust but was no worse for wear considering its journey.



"The door was ripped off it and I could see a motorcycle tire sticking out," he said. "So I went closer and looked inside and saw a Harley-Davidson motorcycle."

The bike was rusty, particularly on the wheels and handlebars, but the logo on the fuel tank was unmistakable.
"Then I looked a little closer and the licence had Japanese writing on it. The wall of the trailer had Japanese print on the tags. And the first thing that popped into my head was this is likely from the Tsunami in Japan."

Don't know about you but the Japanese would have freaked me too out because of what it represented.  All  that it represented.

As any beachcomber worth his weight in running shoes containing a severed human foot will tell you, this is just the beginning of the flotsam and jetsam formerly known as the valued possessions of everyday real Japanese people.

Sorry, Peter, this was the only picture I could find

However in this case I'm happy to report, using someone else's article, that this particular beachcomber, Peter Mark, has ethics. 
"I think the most important thing is that people treat the things they find with respect," he said. "These are parts of people's lives. Some people lost everything in the disaster, and I think people have to keep that in mind when they make a find like this."
He said seeing someone's possessions wash up on a beach 5,000 kilometres away was incredibly sobering.
"I gotta say, the first thing that popped into my mind when I was looking at the scene [was] I really wonder what happened to this person. I really hope this person is OK," he said. "It's quite a shock to actually see it and to actually walk into it … [It's] quite an eerie feeling, knowing what happened to Japan and to those people. It kind of hits home quite a bit."
The owner, Ikuo Yokoyama, a 29-year-old resident of the town of Yamamoto, in Miyagi Prefecture, was tracked down by a Harley-Davidson representative in Japan. He is very grateful and the Harley rep near him has offered to pay to have the bike shipped back and restore it for him. 


The bike's owner is alive but lost three family members and his house.  See?
That's what I meant about all that the debris represents.

I think Mr. Yamamoto can count his blessings that he was among the first people who have had something of value restored to him with someone else picking up the cost. There is a LOT of debris out there and it's due to arrive on the coast of BC and the US very soon.


The voyage of Ikuo Yokoyama's bike

More than 1.5 million tonnes of tsunami debris is drifting across the Pacific Ocean toward Canada's West Coast following approximately the course shown above.  Until now only bottles, buoys and other small items have washed ashore

The debris field has spread in length more than 2,000 nautical miles, and is more than 1,000 miles wide and will be landing on our shores.  When though?

I found a Canadian Department of Environment document that states:
It’s impossible to accurately predict ocean currents and winds 12 months in advance, so there is no certainty regarding arrival, but the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and University of Hawaii models suggest the bulk will arrive in 2013, and the Canadian government agrees.  
It looks like the time is close.   There are concerns about the arrival of the debris field but Canadian authorities believe there is no imminent threat to citizens.   West coast of North America, are you ready?

4 comments:

Angie said...

My first thought when reading this is that no possession is ever really lost. It may be lost to you, but it is SOMEWHERE. The same cannot be said for this man's family. I'm happy that his bike is being returned to him, but it's a small consolation in my mind.

Frimmy said...

That's why I found the words of the person who found this to be interesting. What we will be finding washing up on our shores like so much garbage is the remains of the lives of real people. They should be treated with respect as if they were memorials of real people because they really are.

Noelle said...

Mother nature can sure make a BIG mess. Sobering.

Unknown said...

...don't be so sure about his family, some believe they are still in the universe..somewhere.