Debris from Japan’s tsunami has already hit Vancouver Island shores — a year-and-a-half early, according to oceanographers’ predictions.
For the past few days, a variety of bottles, cans and even pieces of lumber with Japanese writing have been carried by currents and the wind up to Tofino.
A life-long Chesterman’s Beach resident, Jean-Paul Froment, reports that there has been more debris than he has ever seen in past storms.
“Fisherman and friends have said they have found an unusual amount of bottles and items with Asian writing on it,” said Froment.
Larger, heavier material is en route across the Pacific Ocean, according to Russian sailors who spotted the giant floating cluster — including a Fukushima-marked fishing boat — 2,700 kilometres east of Hawaii. The entire mass is estimated to cover an area twice the size of Texas.
Tofino mayor Perry Schmunk said the washed-up items carry more meaning than regular storm debris.
“We will treat the whole thing with respect because everything that has come ashore has dealt with a significant human tragedy,” said Schmunk.
Scientists had estimated that debris from the March 11 disaster in Japan would hit Hawaii in early 2013 before crashing into the West Coast of North America.