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Old 15-12-2011, 19:26   #1
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Japanese Debris Field

Just watched an article on the news about some of the Japanese debris field washed out to sea during the tsunami, reaching the west coast. They indicated the amount of debris may be large enough to cover the state of California in size, and currents will move most or all of it towards the West Coast. I'm wondering about the potential hazard to navigation in the open Pacific. Has anyone encountered any? Have you heard of any problems or sighting of debris? I wonder if this could be an issue in inland waters.
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Old 15-12-2011, 20:41   #2
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Re: Japanese debris field

There are several articles about the first refuse that has appeared....


a snippet from the article.....


Oceanographer Jim Ingraham answers questions about the islands of debris from the March 11 Japan tsunami that are slowly floating toward the Pacific Northwest. Behind him is a float, found east of Neah Bay, that is believed to be the first identified piece of wreckage to arrive via ocean currents. -- Photo by Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
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Old 15-12-2011, 21:08   #3
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Re: Japanese debris field

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Oceanographer Jim Ingraham answers questions about the islands of debris from the March 11 Japan tsunami that are slowly floating toward the Pacific Northwest. Behind him is a float, found east of Neah Bay, that is believed to be the first identified piece of wreckage to arrive via ocean currents. -- Photo by Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News
What? No more glass balls?

And here we had a big whoa thread about ocean pollution with miles of trash flotsam . I guess we can push it all together and blame it on the earth now. Or maybe the Japanese for living too close to the shore line.
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Old 15-12-2011, 21:13   #4
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Re: Japanese debris field

We left Thailand after the Global Tsunami and we experienced three debris fields as we sailed across the Indian ocean several weeks after the tsunami.

The first debris field was about 80-90 miles off the coast of Thailand. That was mostly small stuff and not really a problem for a yacht to navigate through.

The second debris field was around the Andaman Islands that belong to India. The debris was larger with gas bottles and palm trees floating in the water.

The third debris fields was south of Sri Lanka, and that was the big stuff. 100 foot trees with limbs and giant root balls. We had to go hove to at night so that we didn't collide with the large debris. Some yachts sailed through the debris at night and sailed right over trees in the dark, costing one yacht a bent self-steering unit. It took a couple of days to get through all of that debris.

The scariest debris reported in the media was explosive mines that reportedly had been used to mine the harbors in the war in Sri Lanka. Reports said that the tsunami had washed some of them out to sea. That was a bit of a worry, but as far as I know, no mines showed up anywhere near the yachts crossing the Indian Ocean.

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Every debris field is different and presents unique challenges.
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Old 15-12-2011, 23:46   #5
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Re: Japanese debris field

We have been planning a trip up the Washington state coast to the San Juan islands from the Columbia river about 130 miles into waves and usually into the breeze. We have been concerned about the arrival of the floatsome that will probably be a problem in the next few years and are planning on day sailing up and down the coast so we'll have a chance not to bump into something big and cause problems. I have heard that the USA's Coast Guard is planning on using some floatsome as targret practice to try sink the bigger stuff and at least keep the shipping lanes clear on the west coast. I just saw an artical in Sail that showed a really tight'ly packed field of debris. With this debris and all the whale sightings on the West coast having kickup rudders may be an advantage
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Old 16-12-2011, 03:26   #6
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Re: Japanese debris field

One of the biggest dangers is hitting something solid at the bow and at the least, damaging the gelcoat to allow water into the laminate below.

I have a stainless strip all the way down my bows, which hopefully will minimise any such damage.
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Old 16-12-2011, 03:51   #7
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Re: Japanese debris field

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One of the biggest dangers is hitting something solid at the bow and at the least, damaging the gelcoat to allow water into the laminate below.

I have a stainless strip all the way down my bows, which hopefully will minimise any such damage.
I would have thought the real danger was hitting something like a fridge at 5 knots. that's going to bend prop blades and shafts or damage rudders. Whilst a chunk of gelcoat out of the bow would look nasty the lay up in the bows is pretty heavy.

Have a look on You Tube for the Dehler they used to repeatedly crash into rocks.

Back to the debris fields, if you became stuck in one you could be there for a long time.

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