Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tsunami Boat

"The Museum is honored to be able to display this boat and share its story."

My travel buddy and I tend to separate in museums and meet up at a designated time and place later.  So this is what we did at the Columbia Maritime Museum at Astoria, Oregon, last Sunday afternoon.  It's a wonderful museum, filled with the history of the area:  the fur trade, fishing trade, early exploration, shipwrecks and recent search and rescue operations by the Coast Guard.  But what haunts me still, one week later, is this little boat tucked against the back wall of the main room.

"Did you see the Tsunami Boat?" I asked when we met up two hours later.

"No.  Where was that?"

So I took him back and he, too, was jolted into a state of contemplation.
This little abalone and sea urchin fishing boat was swept to sea during the massive tsunami that hit northeastern Japan in 2011.  We all watched in horror the incredible videos of a giant wave crushing everything in its path.  About 16,000 people were killed.

Two years after that event, this boat washed up at Cape Disappointment in Washington.  The owner was found, but did not want it back.

Our hearts bled once again for the massive loss of life.  But it also made us take heed of the dire forecasts that seem to be in the news almost every day since we have moved to Oregon.  A similar earthquake with a magnitude 9.0 and resulting tsunami WILL HAPPEN at anytime.  This part of the Pacific Rim of Fire is about 100 years overdue.  Japan and New Zealand on the west side of the rim have experienced them.  Now, it's our turn on the east side of the horseshoe.  The Juan de Fuca tectonic plate has been sliding underneath the North American one for years.  Pressure has been building up.  A lot of it.

All we can really do is prepare ourselves.  Have food, water and first aid kits at hand.  We all hope we aren't in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This blog is all about the search for magical moments.  And I have found many during my travels.  Heaven is on earth, I have concluded.  But so is Hell.

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