OCEAN PARK, Wash. -- Four barnacle-encrusted boats and part of a 5th, all possible Japanese tsunami debris, washed up on southern Washington beaches over the last five days.
Photos: New tsunami debris
The boats were found in locations stretching from Long Beach to Whidby island to west of Olympia. They were towed to a yard at the Washington State Parks office in Ilwaco. They will be inspected for invasive species and identifying features that can trace them back to Japan.
The man who towed them, George Hill of Hill’s Towing in Ocean Park, said he is confident they are from the 2011 Japanese Tsunami. He also said he was told to expect more.
Hill said the increase in big debris like boats and docks seems to always be accompanied by hundreds of pieces of small items like Japanese water bottles, floats, buoys and trash.
The boats may seem interesting to look at, but they’re covered with bees and flies and a very nasty odor. The debris has been out the ocean for almost three years now. They’re a part of history and a constant reminder to of the terrible day when the tsunami hit.
“It’s a somber reminder, it really is, said Beach Cleanup organizer Shelly Pollock.
Pollock organizes beach clean-up events three times a year along the Washington Coast. She said the biggest problem is plastic brought in from the tsunami. She hopes beach combers who find the litter will pick it up and throw it away.
In the meantime, she’ll watch for more boats.
“The boats are interesting. They float and they come in with the tides and the winds bring them in,” Pollock said. “So we’ll be anxious on any given day to see what it will bring in, when there’s a good west wind.”
The Long Beach Peninsula has had some steady winds out of the west lately and that usually increases the debris, according to Hill.
The debris has left some concerned about possible radioactive particles. But rest assured, both Washington and Oregon authorities have done extensive sampling and found nothing above normal, background levels.
KGW reporter Pat Dooris contributed to this report.