Monday, July 30, 2012

Stacey Wallace Benefiel Meets a Japanese Dock

When Amanda asked me if I'd like to write a guest post for Under-the-Sea-palooza, I thought it was serendipity, as I'd just returned from my annual family vacation on the Oregon coast.

Normally, I wouldn't think about posting my vacation pictures on someone else's blog, but this year at the beach was particularly interesting. The Oregon coast is, tsunami-wise, lined up with the north-east coast of Japan. When the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami occurred in northern Japan in March 2011, people all along the west coast of the U.S. were evacuated. Fortunately, we never saw more than slightly higher waves.

Until now.

Several months ahead of when scientists predicted, debris from Japan is washing up on our beaches. The largest of which is a dock.
Agate beach saw 10,000 more visitors than normal the first weekend after the dock appeared
The dock was able to float across the Pacific Ocean
The dock was able to float across the Pacific Ocean due to its Styrofoam core
The barnacles were tested for radiation and then blow torched from the dock before the public was allowed to get near it.
The barnacles were tested for radiation and then blow torched from the dock before the public was allowed to get near it
 
Our visit to see the dock was surreal. First off, the walk out to it is about a half mile across small sand dunes. Secondly, the beach was more packed than I'd ever seen it and no one was playing in the waves - everyone was just making their way to THE DOCK. It felt like an alien craft had landed and we were all being drawn to the ship.

Once there, the group mentality continued.

1. Walk around it.
2. Touch it.
3. Get your photo taken with it. (Ours is going to be our Christmas card this year.)
4. Marvel at the power of the ocean and how something so gigantic floated so far.
5. Feel awkward about being excited about a dock when so many people lost their lives in the earthquake and tsunami.
6. Realize you're standing in front of a piece of history.

Thanks to my husband, Rob Benefiel, for letting me use his photos. The ones I took all sucked

I hope you've enjoyed looking at my photos and hearing about one of the stranger things I did on my summer vacation.


Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, the Day of Sacrifice series, The Toilet Business - a collection of essays, and multiple short stories. She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel, but knows she's not foolin' anybody. Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her poet husband and their two young children. For more info on Stacey and her books, please visit her website: http://staceywallacebenefiel.com