Two stories about flotsam and ocean currents. The first flotsam from the earthquake and tsunami, which struck Japan on March 11, is beginning to arrive on the West Coast of the United States. A large black float, believed to have floated from Japan, was found recently on a Neah Bay beach, according to Seattle oceanographers Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Jim Ingraham. About 25 million tons of debris from Japan is expected to make landfall on beaches from southern Alaska to California, Ebbesmeyer said.
First debris from Japanese earthquake/tsunami reaches Olympic Peninsula
The Halloween Nor’easter of 1991 ripped across the new England coast doing over $200 million of damage and killing 14 including, the six crew members on the fishing boat Andrea Gail. The writer Sebastian Junger would write a non-fiction account of the sinking in his book, The Perfect Storm, which was also made into a movie of the same name. Now, ten years later, a tag from a lobster pot that was ripped off the ocean floor by the Halloween 1991 nor’easter has been found by beachcomber, Rosemary Hill, of Waterville in County Kerry, Ireland.
Through Internet searches, she found it belonged to Massachusetts lobsterman Richard Figueiredo, who says it was from one of hundreds of pots he lost during the vicious storm.
Oceanographer Curt Ebbesmeyer told the Patriot Ledger that the tag initially probably became buried in offshore mud.
He believes that the tag, with or without the pot, then likely drifted south into the circular Subtropical Gyre current in the mid-Atlantic, making six three-year loops before it caught the Gulf Stream toward Ireland – all told, perhaps 50,000 miles of drifting.
Figueiredo told Hill by telephone that she should keep the tag, and that he was honored by the enthusiasm she put into her discovery.
Thanks to Phil Leon for passing the Perfect Storm flotsam article along. Thanks to Irwin Bryan for passing along articles on tsunami flotsam.