Oregon Coast Debris Finds: Japanese Temple Piece, Boats
(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Three chunks of what appear to be tsunami debris all washed up on the Washington and Oregon coast on Friday, and another set of objects appeared earlier this week. One is a major find, and something different and likely more significant than the usual boats or plastic that have been appearing. (Photos courtesy Judson Randall)
A group of locals in Oceanside, Oregon discovered a large chunk of painted wood on Friday, about 7:30 a.m. This time, it wasn't a small vessel but apparently part of a Japanese temple gate.
Oceanside resident Judson Randall was among those who found it and immediately called local authorities. At first, Oregon State Parks and Recreation (OPRD) rangers from nearby Cape Lookout State Park didn't seem too interested, but Randall said the pair showed photos to their superior, who immediately recognized what it was and how important it was.
“ It's the top part, the kasagi - of a torii - which is a Japanese temple gate,” Randall said. “I suspect that this is probably one of the most culturally significant pieces to arrive from the tsunami flood.”
Randall said it was covered in marine life, but seagulls immediately began attacking it. They had fairly quickly picked the object clean, essentially doing the work of Oregon wildlife officials for them.
Randall noted a friend of his in Pacific City had found some wooden beams this week that looked as if they may be part of the same temple gate. These were found in between Tierra Del Mar and Pacific City. These did not have marine life clinging to them, however.
The chunk of debris found in Cannon Beach was also discovered on March 21 – Friday - about a half-mile south of Silver Point, putting it on a very remote beach on the north Oregon coast.
Oregon State Parks and Recreation and U.S. Coast Guard officials responded to the incident but none were available for comment over the weekend. According to the Cannon Beach Police Department, the object was a 23-foot boat with Japanese writing on it.
The report from local police indicates it “appeared to be a derelict vessel that had been in the ocean for an extended period of time.” Cannon Beach Police reports it had significant layers of marine life, but the department was unable to say what OPRD and the Coast Guard found.
Also on Friday, Washington officials responded to a vessel with Japanese writing on it in Long Beach, Washington. Biologists took many samples of sea life from that boat, which included large mussels, gooseneck barnacles and at least one sea sponge. Four fish were found in a deeper part of the boat.
More about Oregon coast science below - plus a roundup of tsunami debris found recently.
Tsunami dock at Newport, taken at night
Boat found near Florence
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