Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bits of lives washing up on northwest beaches

Amazing how tsunami debris from Japan has started to pile up on Pacific Northwest beaches.

Joel's mom (who says she no longer monitors beaches officially, but is a naturalist for life) has been sending news reports, plus bits about the training and warnings provided to local volunteers.

People on the beaches have been warned to handle debris with multiple kinds of respect, in case of finding hazards, remains, or family valuables.

Meanwhile, people in offices seem to be stumbling over each other trying to decide who's in charge of different varieties and aspects of the wrack.

Probably you heard about the motorcycle that washed up on Haida Gwaii. (Wow. A moment, please, for the ancient role of Pacific flotsam in Haida lives and traditions.)

Now it's not just a few items arriving. It's stuff, and more stuff. Recently, a big rubber float typical of Sendai oyster farming.

Curt Ebbesmeyer, inventor and guru of the science of "flotsametrics", maintains a "Beachcombers' Alert" Web site about it all. Not often updated, but with some great diagrams showing how Haida Gwaii (a.k.a. the Queen Charlottes) and the northwestern U.S. coast are particular destinations for the current from Japan.

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