Coastal Currents: Tsunami Debris Exploration

Mike Dronkers / Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 @ 4:12 p.m. / Ocean

Tomorrow for Ocean Night, the movie "Ikkatsu" follows three kayakers traveling the roadless coast of the Olympic Peninsula, documenting the debris from the tsunami as it washes ashore on remote Northwest beaches.

Kayaker Ken Cambpell appeared on Coastal Currents this week to talk about his journey. 

Ikkatsu - movie trailer from Steve Weileman on Vimeo.

Aside from the pollution, there's an archaeological angle on the tsunami debris field. Some civilians are already planning on locating certain items' owner and returning their belongings to them.

New York Times:

One of their biggest debris finds was a pile of lumber that included the lid of a potty-training toilet, a laundry hamper, a bottle of cherry-flavored cough syrup, several brown glass bottles and pieces of a washing machine marked with Japanese characters.

Mr. Campbell and his colleagues believe that the fragments were part of a bathroom that washed out to sea during the tsunami.

“When we started digging through the pile, that’s when it hit home: We’re in someone’s house right now,” Mr. Campbell said.

If you visit the beach with any frequency, you're bound to find something interesting. However, some biologists are concerned about invasive species travelling from Japan to North America. If they're right, you want to be really careful about what you do with your findings. Check here for Humboldt Baykeeper's debris-handling tips. Nobody wants, say, foreign oysters taking local oysters' jobs.

Check out NOAA's debris map here and if you think you've found tsunami debris, report it to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov.  

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