SANTA CRUZ: Tsunami debris found in Rio del Mar, again



Tsunami debris found in Rio del Mar, again

Posted:   07/18/2012 05:16:41 PM PDT
his June 6, 2012 file photo shows fisheries scientists John Chapman (with bucket), and Jessica Miller taking samples of seaweed, shellfish and other marine organisms that floated across the Pacific on a dock float that ran aground on Agate Beach near Newport, Ore., after being set adrift by the 2011 tsunami. Scientists are concerned that the tsunami debris coming to the West Coast and Alaska could represent a new avenue for invasive species. (Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian)

RIO DEL MAR – Brendan Hurley was on the Internet researching tsunami debris the day before he crossed paths with the real thing.

Walking on Rio del Mar beach the morning of June 21, Hurley spotted a blue object near the high water mark. With closer examination, the object had Japanese lettering and was attached to frayed stubs of rope – the second unconfirmed local finding of flotsam from last year’s Japanese disaster.

“I found what appears to be a small net bouy,” Hurley said Wednesday, recalling the encounter. “(The tide) actually threw it right up on the berm.”

Tons of debris raked into the sea after the earthquake and tsunami, which killed tens of thousands of people, is heading toward the West Coast of North


Already, a ghost fishing vessel turned up off the coast of Canada, and a large floating dock beached in Oregon. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is tracking the debris.

In March, a jogger reported finding what appears to be an empty bottle of Japanese dish soap, a household castoff that may have travelled thousand of miles across the sea before coming to rest, coincidentally, on Rio del Mar State Beach as well.

Hurley’s bouy is being kept at his house, but he has reported it to NOAA. Tsunami debris is not considered dangerous.

Aptos resident Paul Lessard found this bottle while running on the beach at Rio del Mar in March. A Japanese-speaking colleague confirmed it is a bottle of Japanese dish soap, but whether it is tsunami debris probably can never be verified. However, experts are revising their debris models after flotsam started showing up in North America sooner than expected. (Paul Lessard/Contributed)

It appears faded on one side, as if it spent a lot of time in the sun. He has not had the lettering translated.

“Right away I pretty much thought a buoy that weathered had to have some from far…”


For the full report and more photos go here:




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