Tsunami debris drifts into area shop

A Japanese shipping channel marker is on sale for $400 at the Olde Central Antique Mall in Port Orchard.  - Brett Cihon
A Japanese shipping channel marker is on sale for $400 at the Olde Central Antique Mall in Port Orchard.
— image credit: Brett Cihon

Local antique and collectable hunters have a chance to buy collectables that have made a long and unexpected journey.

The Olde Central Antique Mall in downtown Port Orchard is selling items from last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan that washed up on along Washington state beaches earlier this month.

The largest item for sale, a Japanese shipping channel marker, meant to direct vessels into certain shipping lanes, will run an interested collector $400. The 4 foot long and 3 foot high buoy was spotted and hauled in by a crab fisherman 20 miles off the coast of Westport, said the items current owner Marcia Acoba.

“He saw that floating around and he brought it in,” Acoba said, noting that the crab fisherman called her and asked if she was interested in buying the item. “It’s one of the most unusual things I have for sale.”

Buoys, toys and even boats have travelled across the Pacific Ocean and are washing up along the shores of Washington. Along with the channel marker, Acoba has a number of smaller items such as buoy markers on sale at the store.

Beaches outside of Westport, La Push and Ocean Shores are littered with debris, becoming a treat for beachcombers and a headache for state officials.

“We are in for a steady dribble of tsunami debris over the next few years, so any responses must be well-planned - and it will be,” Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire told National Public Radio earlier this month.

No items have, as of yet, washed up along Puget Sound beaches. Acoba plans to spend her weekends traveling to Westport in order to bring debris back for sale. The debris has a strong appeal for certain collectors, and make great additions to her nautical antique sales, she said.

“People love this stuff,” she said.


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