Jenni Remillard was on the beach at Seal Rock and came across this tote with Japanese writing on it. She called NewsLincolnCounty.com for our take on it and we referred her to Dr. John Chapman, “Mr. Invasive Species,” at Hatfield Marine Science Center. Dr. Chapman came down and took the tote and everything aboard it (he hopes) to his lab at HMSC for analysis and a thorough inspection of its “passengers,” of which there were quite a few.
Dr. Chapman certified that the Japanese tote was carried out to sea by the Japanese Tsunami on March 11, 2011 and that the tote remained at sea for 43 months until being deposited on the beach at Seal Rock probably on November 30th, the day it was discovered, or shortly before.
Dr. Chapman told News Lincoln County that there was quite a bit of sea life still on the tote which furthers his theory that many exotic species found on the west coast of the U.S. could have easily made the trip here from Asia as accidental travelers riding on floating objects swept out to sea by large tsunamis produced by huge earthquakes.
Dr. Chapman was quick to point out that although the tote came from near the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant area, it was far out to sea many days before the nuclear plant suffered several damaging explosions and started leaking radioactivity into the sea. So there are absolutely no radioactivity issues with the tote, he says.
Anyone who finds what may be tsunami debris on our beaches are urged to call Dr. Chapman at Hatfield Marine Science Center 541-867-0235. If he’s away from his phone, leave him a complete message describing what you’ve found, it’s exact location and a return phone number so he can get back in touch with you.