Sent from Japan

When I arrived in Oregon my friend, Erik, told me about a section of dock that was torn away from its moorings in Japan and ended up on the beach in Oregon.

Yes, that’s what I said, a section of DOCK TORE AWAY in JAPAN and FLOATED to OREGON!

Yeah, I was impressed too.

In my head I pictured something wooden, like the kind of dock you see in a movie about a summer camp, horror or otherwise. It seems easy for something like that to get pulled away in a tsunami and dragged out to sea. This dock in my head impressed me just because I imagined that it was a very well put together wooden dock since Japan is almost 8,000 miles away. It took about a year to get across the ocean to end up in Oregon. It was sad and amazing and I was looking forward to seeing it in a weird way.

After a couple of days getting caught up in training and getting used to a new city, a city that will be my home for the month of July, I kinda’ forgot about the dock. Then we went to dinner at a pizza place that over looks the beach. We sat at a booth near the window and Erik pointed out the dock.

It was massive.

This was no wooden structure, this was cement and rebar and steel. This didn’t hold dingies this was for major boats (crab boats it turns out). And even mostly submerged by the incoming tide you could still tell how big it was. I tried to get pictures from the window, but I only had my phone with me and my phone is dying (more on that another day) so I couldn’t get any of the pictures to turn out. We resolved to go another day when the tide was out so we could get a better look.

We finally went down to the beach just the other day and saw the dock. Here are the pictures I took:

Even this far away you can see how big it is.

Here are people in various planes showing scale.

When it landed it was covered in 1.5 tons of sea life.

This is from on the dock, looking back from where it came.

It was humbling to see this. It’s made of all the stuff we use when we want to make something “permanent” and to the power of the ocean it was nothing.

Tonight as I was writing this Erik mentioned that the local government have set up a hotline for people to report tsunami debris. He also told me that if you find a shoe you’re not supposed to look inside, human remains may still be in them. That’s just a horrifying thought. I decided to look up some news on this and there’s actually quite a bit, a giant dock making it 8,000 across the ocean with no one noticing is quite a story. Here is a link to the NPR story. It gives the dimensions of the dock (66′ long, 7′ tall!) and tells you more about where it came from and what this means for the Pacific coast in regard to tsunami debris.

No matter how impressive our human achievements, nature only needs to flex it’s muscles once to humble us.

See you tomorrow.

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