A team led by National Park Service staff finally made contact today with a large dock on a shoreline near La Push. The dock is suspected of being debris from a March 2011 tsunami in Japan.
Though it hasn’t been verified with the Japanese government, a Washington Department of Ecology release says Japanese writing in one of its holds may be enough to prove it was carried to Washington state’s shoreline over the Pacific Ocean, just like the large Misawa dock that washed ashore on Agate Beach earlier this year.
The team put a tracking device on the dock which is still knocking against Olympic National Park’s rugged coastline because workers will not be able to return to it until early January, according to the Washington Department of Ecology. Limited sunlight and tide conditions would make it too dangerous for the workers, a release said. No timeline has been set for the dock’s removal.
Samples of potentially invasive species were taken and have been sent to Williams College and Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History scientists for evaluation.
The park shoreline between Goodman Creek and Jefferson Cove is closed to the public until further notice.
The Coast Guard started looking for the dock after a fishing boat spotted it Friday. Gov. Chris Gregoire praised the team that found it, saying the mission was like “looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Anyone who spots something that looks like possible tsunami marine debris can send a report to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov. As of last Thursday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had received at least 1,432 ocean debris reports, 17 of which have been confirmed to be tsunami debris.