Well it’s here. The first (that I’ve heard of) large piece of debris from the Japanese tsunami. It’s a large dock section of some kind that washed up on Agate Beach. As it so happened my brother Josh and I were working on a job at a house overlooking Agate Beach. We were just finishing up and I happen to stop for a second to admire the view of the beach. I saw something that looked to be rocks made visible by the receding tide. The only problem with this involuntary hypothesis was that there are no such rocks at Agate Beach, and it was high tide. It also had a very regular shape. We decided that it must be tsunami debris, so we rushed to finish picking up our tools and were off to the beach for a quick look-see before we went to the last job of the day.
As we were looking for parking at the Agate Beach Wayside, we saw a Channel 8 News van and a cadre of reporter types. We tromped down the beach to the wreckage but couldn’t get very close to it because the tide was then at it’s highest point for the day. We took a couple pictures and decided we might come back later.
I wasted no time once I got home, I loaded up the dogs, put on some shorts, grabbed my camera, and headed for the beach. I used the access nearest the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse because it seemed to be closer and have far fewer people using it.
After reaching the dock I took a good long look at the flora and fauna growing on it’s sides. I even found some detached mussels in the surf that I put back on the dock. Wouldn’t want to have the little buggers taking root here now would we.
There were several people on top of the dock and they were going inside of it somehow. Not only that but they were bringing things out. A small room in the dock was filled with concrete ballast cylinders about a foot long. Being the kind of person that I am I could not sit by and not do some exploring for myself. So I called Josh and told him that he had better get down there before they were all gone. You see, I needed Josh because I needed someone to hold my dogs leash, and because the thing was about seven feet tall. While I was waiting, a nice teenage girl that was up on the dock was getting ballasts for anyone that wanted one. Not being one to turn down the kindness of others, I accepted. After a few more minutes my brother showed up. His girlfriend, Brittney, was kind enough to hold my pack and watch my dogs while Josh and I made quick work out of scaling the dock. We do after all have quite a lot of practice at shenanigans of various kinds. After a quick survey of the top of the dock we found that others had only managed to open one of the two hatches and that they had only gotten the one open because the lid was broken. Fortunately, opening things that haven’t been opened in a long time is another one of Josh and I’s fortes. With nothing but Josh kicking at the lid and me prying at it with my fingers, we got it open. Unfortunately, the room under the second hatch was too full of water to get to the ballasts. After a couple of other folks cleared out, we took our turn down in room number one. I had seen some ballasts with labels with Japanese on them. I did my best to find another with a label but was cut short by the arrival of a State Parks Beach Ranger.
The Beach Ranger attempted to feed us a line of BS about salvage laws. Laws that he was wrong about. Items unintentionally lost at see are defined as flotsam by maritime law. Which means the can be salvaged by anyone. But I complied, dropped my ballasts, and got off the dock. Then I and many others waited for the Beach Ranger to leave. When he did so, a couple of guys went up and started tossing a bunch of ballasts down for just whoever wanted them. We all took one and were on our way.