First there was a soccer ball, then it was debris used to make a sculpture, but now there is a new item to top the list of things lost in last year’s tsunami that are turning up on the West Coast of North America: a Harley Davidson motorcycle. That’s right, a motorcycle with a license plate identifying it from Miyagi prefecture, in northern Japan, was found inside a cargo container that washed ashore on an island just off the coast of British Columbia, Canada.
The large container was found on Graham Island by Peter Mark when he was exploring the remote beach in mid-April. When he opened it up, among a few small, random items like golf clubs and some tools was an actual Harley Davidson. It was covered in rust, but easily identifiable. In addition to the Japanese license plate, there were labels on the door of the cargo container with Japanese writing on them. Mark left everything where it was and contacted the Japanese embassy in Vancouver, which is now trying to track down what happened to the owner in Japan.
Miyagi prefecture was probably the worst area to be devastated by last year’s earthquake and tsunami. In addition to the 19,000 people who died or are missing, it is estimated that millions of pieces of debris were swept back out to the ocean. Not just personal belongings, but the destroyed remains of houses and buildings, or in this case, vehicles. The cargo container has been identified as one that is attached to the small moving trucks in Japan. The walls of the container seem to be lined with a foam-like material, which explain how it was able to float across the Pacific ocean, as opposed to just sinking to the bottom.
When interviewed by the media, Mark said that after the discovery he began to wonder what happened to the motorcycle’s owner and if they were all right. He also stressed to others who might find debris lost in Japanese tsunami that the important thing is to treat the items with respect.
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