The Ikkatsu Project: Documenting the Tsunami Debris

the ikkatsu project

People are attracted to sea-kayaking for many different reasons. Relaxation, adventure or the occasional adrenaline rush are all valid reasons. Over the years I’ve found my reasons morphing and growing. Of late, I’ve been moving away from kayaking for kayaking sake, to using kayaking as a means to an end.

When I found the organization Adventurers and Scientist for Conservation I realized that I wanted to get involve with a program where my desire for outdoor adventure was couple with a bigger cause. Then just as I was sending in my application to A&S, I was approached by Ken Campbell, a fellow guide-instructor with a project that grabbed my attention immediately.

After a few hours and multiple cups of coffee, The Ikkatsu Project was born. In a nutshell the scope of our project is to paddle down the unpopulated portion of the Washington coast, stopping at secluded beaches to survey for Japanese tsunami debris.

We choose the word Ikkatsu for our project as in Japanese it means ‘together as one’. And although the earthquake and tsunamis stroke Japan its effect will ultimately be felt here as well.

At the conclusion of the trip we’ll turn over our data to our advisory board, which consists of experts from NOAA, Coastal Watershed Institute, Surfrider Foundation, and 5 Gyres Project. A full list of our scientist and their credentials can be found here.

Jason Goldstein rounds out our team of kayakers, another guide-instructor with years of experience. Between the three of us we plan to document the project both with written articles and a feature documentary.

The Washington coast is a rugged and stunning landscape. With the potential arrive of tons of debris in addition to the already large amount of flotsam which washes into the tidal zone and its potential harm it’s critical that a plan for dealing with this crisis is formulated. And the first step in this plan is collecting the data of what’s there today.

I’d like to invite you to follow us, and share your thoughts over at The Ikkatsu Project.


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  • That is a pretty worthy cause. Even though it was essentially tragic, it is still fascinating how a devastation of a country that’s miles away can be easily felt and seen within our shores.

  • Saw your recent article on Tsunami wreckage on Washington beaches.
    I am one of a group of artists collecting drift lumber and building sculptures to
    draw attention to ocean pollution.
    One of our wooden waves is installed at the Peace arch sculpture park in Blaine WA
    We are building another one to take to a festival in Nevada.
    We would like to contact people who find wooden Tusnami debris on the west coast
    to include in our sculpture..
    I am a kayaker and mainly enjoy the BC coast around Tofino, Kyouquot, Brooks, Bunsbys etc.
    Ron Simmer
    604 438 5935

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