Bridge Across The Water

The dock to nowhere.After it was first sighted last month by a fishing boat floating along the Western Washington State coast, eventually washing up on the Olympic National Park, it was confirmed that the 19-meter long dock was one of four that used to be lodged in the fishing port of Misawa in Aomori Prefecture that were ripped off by the March 11, 2011 tsunami. … It will be remembered that in June 2012, a first dock already turned up on one of the beaches on the Oregon coast. This one was even larger at 21 meters long, and was identified to have come from Misawa via a metal plaque plastered to it. — The Japan Daily Press

In order to minimize damage to the coastline and marine habitat, federal agencies are moving forward with plans to remove the dock. In addition to being located within a designated wilderness portion of Olympic National Park, the dock is also within NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and adjacent to the Washington Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. NOAA has announced a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit proposals from professional marine salvage contractors. …The deadline for submitting proposals is 2 p.m./Pacific on Jan. 22, 2013. — Washington Department of Ecology

My proposal: Leave it there. The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami killed nearly 16,000 people and led to the explosions at Fukushima Daichi that endangered hundreds of thousands more. It was an international cry of anguish. How do we remember such things? We build memorials. In this case, the tsunami has provided the memorial for us.

A crew has already scraped off 400 pounds of marine plants and animals in an attempt to prevent any invasive species from taking hold,” the Associated Press reports. Why? These organisms too are memorials. What could be more natural than species uprooted and cast across the sea, to seek purchase in new waters? A riven portion of Japan has been shared with us; more, the state of Washington has historic ties to Aomori and Misawa.

Leave this dock. Shore it up. Let Washingtonians look on it, or better, walk onto it, and look east across the ocean, and remember.

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