Pacific Lost and Found: Tsunami Debris Project curated online

Found Harley-Davidson

Studio photo of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle belonging to a Japanese owner that was found washed ashore on British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii. Photo courtesy of Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

The Maritime Museum of British Columbia in Victoria is curating an online exhibit of debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan.

Museum executive director Jon Irwin says they thought that all the potential flotsam headed to the coast would be a relevant part of their maritime history. Although a few items have washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest over the last several months, the bulk of the debris is believed to still be in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Most of the tsunami debris is expected to arrive along the eastern Pacific coast sometime over the next two years.

Irwin says they’re focusing on some of the sentimental items that may be found. Some examples include the recently found soccer ball and Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“Take a picture of it. Upload it,” said Irwin. He hopes that will spark discussion and identification of the items that could eventually lead to their repatriation.

Although Irwin said the Museum does not plan to be actively involved in the physical disposition of any items, they may be able to provide connections that could lead to a sentimental item’s return to Japan.

To follow along with their ongoing curated exhibit on Facebook, search for Tsunami Debris Project and “Like” the site.

The Maritime Museum’s website includes a clearinghouse of tsunami information.

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