Oregonians found a 66-foot long by 19-foot wide and seven-foot tall dock on a beach this past Tuesday, one of many surprising debris items that were lost during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and are now showing up on the west coast of America. The dock traveled from Misawa, a city on the northern tip of Honshu all the way to Agate Beach near Newport Oregon, reported Gizmodo and the Japan Daily Press.
Conservationists are cleaning the dock of invasive species that hitchhiked across the ocean. Oregon State University said Thursday that the dock is covered in about 13 pounds of organisms per square foot, or a total of about 100 tons of barnacles, starfish, urchins, anemones, amphipods, worms, mussels, limpets, snails, solitary tunicates and algae, reported U~T SanDiego.
A dockload of Asian wildlife isn't the only remarkable tsunami surfer. A Harley Davidson motorcycle was found on Canada's Gwaii Islands on April 18. Harley Davidson representatives traced the bike to Ikuo Yokoyama, a 29-year-old resident of the town of Yamamoto, in Miyagi Prefecture. The company hopes to restore the bike for Yokoyama, who lost family in the tsunami, reported the CBC.
Nearly 16,000 confirmed death resulted from the tsunami. Many of the deceased were lost to the sea. The most gruesome flotsam may be shoes with bones floating in them some experts fear, reported the AP. Sadly, these may be only remains forensic experts will be able to send back to families in Japan.
Debris has been making its way across the Pacific faster than the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted. Original estimates didn't believe the aftermath of the tsunami would hit North America until early next year, and even then small buoyant items were supposed to be the vanguard, like the soccer ball that arrived in Alaska in March. But even some very large objects, like the dock, have started showing up. A ship made it to near Hawaii last year, and another was sunk by the U.S. Navy in April.
Tourists watch as workers from the Oregon Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks use scrapers and torches to clean and kill invasive sea creatures and plants from the hull of a large floating Japanese dock on Agate Beach near Newport. (Robin Loznak, Corbis)