Tsunami Motorcycle Washes Up Onto Haida Gwaii Shores, Japanese Owner Found

A Harley that washed up onto a remote Haida Gwaii beach is indeed from the Japanese tsunami of March 2011
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Yet another piece of tsunami flotsam has turned up off Canada, but unlike the tsunami ghost ship in March, this one actually made it to Haida Gwaii’s shores.

The owner of a Harley motorcycle found by a beachcomber in mid-April has been located, and he does indeed live in Japan. His moving van was washed out to sea in the tsunami, including his motorcycle, and it arrived on a remote beach on Graham Island, where it was found by British Columbian Peter Mark, CBC News reported.

As he cruised along in his ATV, according to CBC News, he spotted what looked like the back end of a moving truck just below the high-tide mark.

"The door was ripped off it and I could see a motorcycle tire sticking out," he told the network. "So I went closer and looked inside and saw a Harley-Davidson motorcycle."

A closer look revealed Japanese characters on the license, and it turned out to be registered in Miyagi Prefecture, CBC News said. A Harley-Davidson rep in Japan saw CBC News’s initial story about the find and tracked down owner Ikuo Yokoyama, 29, who hails from Miyagi Prefecture.

The Japanese man lost three family members as well as his home in the tsunami, CBC News said. He’d been storing the motorcycle in the back of the cube van behind his house when catastrophe struck.

The motorcycle has some rust damage but is otherwise intact. It fared much better than the so-called ghost ship, which was sunk by the U.S. Coast Guard in early April. Both the ship and motorcycle are part of about 1.5 million tons of debris floating toward the Canadian and U.S. Pacific coast. Experts have predicted it will start hitting in 2013 and ’14, but some of it has already started to arrive.

The motorcycle bears out what Robert Mills, Chief Council of the Skidegate Band of the Haida Nation, told Indian Country Today Media Network back in April.

“We would prefer if there was some kind of international salvage operation to go out and clean it up, rather than waiting for it just to wash up on shore,” he said, adding that even if the bulk of it doesn’t hit Haida Gwaii territory, “It’s going to land somewhere.”