Isaiah Goodman, 8, left, and Colby Taylor, 10, are shown with a float native to the northeast portion of Japan that was devastated in 2011 by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resultant tsunami, 12 May 2012. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

By Arwyn Rice, Peninsula Daily News
14 May 2012

DUNGENESS – Debris apparently from the March 2011 Japanese tsunami is now riding the tides up the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The biggest collection of fishing floats — many bearing Asian writing and logos — has been found on Dungeness Spit, which juts into the Strait north of Sequim, said Dave Falzetti, refuge officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the lengthy spit.

“We’ve never seen anything like these before,” he said.

Falzetti said visitors to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge had been finding floats sporadically since January.

During the first official beach cleanup of the year May 5, volunteers recovered more than two dozen small floats, he said

On Saturday, Isaiah Goodman, 8, and Colby Taylor, 10, both of Port Angeles, were hiking with their family on the spit and found a large black float bearing the Japanese name “Musashi.”

“They rolled and dragged that thing for 4 miles to get it back to the [refuge] entry station,” Falzetti said. […]

The buoy found by the Taylor family is nearly identical to one discovered on a Neah Bay beach in October that was traced to an oyster farming area in the hardest-hit part of the Japanese coastline by the March 2011 subduction quake and giant tsunami, which together resulted in 15,854 deaths.

A growing pile of marked floats is stored at the Dungeness refuge, said Falzetti, who said he is starting to become concerned about sensitive island seabird habitats.

The fishing floats aren’t much danger to the seabirds and will float away at another high tide, but what is coming later — kerosene cans, bottles of household chemicals and hundreds of tons of other wreckage — could cause a major problem, he said. […]

The arrival of debris on beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca was forecast by oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, who announced in December the identification of a Japanese oyster farming float, which was thought to be the first tsunami debris to be found on a North American beach.

It was found by a Surf­rider Foundation cleanup crew near Neah Bay in October — exactly when Ebbesmeyer and Jim Ingraham’s models predicted the arrival of lighter, windblown debris. […]

Anyone who finds suspected tsunami debris is asked to contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at DisasterDebris@noaa.gov.

Debris possibly from Japanese tsunami floating up Strait of Juan de Fuca

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