Lifestyle & Belief

Japanese boat found in California was from 2011 tsunami


RIKUZENTAKATA, JAPAN - MARCH 10: A single pine tree that was left standing after the March 11th tsunami, which swept away an entire forest in the city of Rikuzentakata, is seen on March 10, 2012 in Rikuzentakata, Japan. On the eve of the one year anniversary of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami the effected areas have been inundated with families, friends and relatives, the limited amount of hotels in the area are full to capacity with the worlds media and people from across Japan are arriving to take part in ceremonies paying tribute to the many people who lost their lives. The 9.0 magnitude strong earthquake struck offshore on March 11, 2011 at 2:46pm local time, triggering a tsunami wave of up to ten metres which engulfed large parts of north-eastern Japan and also damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing the worst nuclear crisis in decades. The number of dead and missing ammounted to over 25,000 people. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)


Chris McGrath

It was an incredible journey: a humble boat belonging to a Japanese high school has been confirmed as the first debris from the March 11, 2011 tsunami to reach California, after it washed ashore on a Crescent City beach on April 7th.

The barnacle encrusted and largely intact boat didn't look like much, but a sharp-eyed local geologist snapped a photo of the boat and sent it to the Facebook page of Takata High School in the Japanese town of Rikuzentakata, reported local paper the Del Norte Triplicate.

Read more from GlobalPost: Japan tsunami: 2 years later

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed on Thursday that the boat indeed belonged to the marine sciences program at Takata High School, reported the Associated Press, which was assisted by the Japanese consulate in confirming the find.

Debris from the 2011 tsunami has washed ashore at a number of other US locations and continues to do so, although the high school's errant boat was a first for the Golden State. 

Other debris has been tracked by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which reported in March of this year that a massive 185 ton dock had finally been removed from the Olympic Coast of Washington State. That's a lot of flotsam and jetsam.

More debris is expected: the NOAA website notes that it "anticipates that in the late fall and throughout the winter of 2012-2013, seasonal changes in North Pacific winds and currents will cause marine debris of mixed types to wash ashore on western coastlines of North America." 

Keep a careful eye out on your next beach vacation — and before you ask, no, that debris almost certainly isn't radioactive.