Kodiak fisherman Alexus Kwatchka shows one of the Japanese floats he collected near the island. It has likely been washed across the Pacific after the Japanese tsunami in March. Dave Kubiak photo
beach comber and a renowned oceanographer have found that Kodiak is already
receiving some of the earliest arrivals of debris from the Japanese earthquake
and subsequent tsunami. The 9.0 earthquake hit March 11th and the
tsunami that followed devastated Japan's coastline, killing nearly
September, avid beach comber Dave Kubiak came across a large, white plastic
float while out in his boat.
-- (Flotsam 1 :28 "But
it's the biggest plastic float... wind is what's gonna drive them.")
moved on, not sure if the float was actually from the tsunami. But then he came
across several more and then his friend- a fellow beach comber- also reported
seeing the floats.
-- (Flotsam 2 :10 "But
it's pretty obvious...that's unbelievable.")
friend actually pulled a few of the floats and stored them in the back of his
truck. They took pictures and sent them to Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer.
is well-known for his study of flotsam and how it travels through the ocean. He
sent the pictures to the national media in Japan and asked for help
identifying the floats.
-- (Flotsam 3 :20 "Yeah
they're from... that's my booey.")
says debris will continue to wash up on shores from Kodiak to Oregon for the next few years. The ensuing
reports from beach combers like Kubiak will make for better understanding of
how flotsam moves through the ocean.
-- (Flotsam 4 :36 "This
is unprecedented...not appreciated even now.")
says scientists are already hypothesizing about the effects of mass amounts of
debris traveling through the Pacific Ocean's
currents. He points to an unprecedented number of sea turtles washing up on Vancouver Island.
-- (Flotsam 5 :32 "Some
scientists are saying...that's a whole new dimension.")
says people who find debris should be especially careful. Personal items and
artifacts can still be reunited with people in Japan. He also suggests testing
items for radiation, just to be prudent. Ebbesmeyer asks that people send him
pictures and accounts of debris sightings through his website, flotsametrics
dot com. You can find that link and this story on our website at KMXT dot org. ###