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Sonoma Man Thinks Coastal Find Drifted From Japan’s Tsunami

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Darrin Moffet says he found this crate on the Sonoma Coast. (CBS)

Darrin Moffet says he found this crate on the Sonoma Coast. (CBS)

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FORT ROSS (CBS 5) – It appears that debris from Japan’s devastating 2011 tsunami may have reached the shores of California.

Darren Moffet of Windsor regularly goes looking for shells to make jewelry off the Sonoma Coast and recently made an interesting discovery.

“I believe I found a Kirin beer crate that floated from the tsunami in Japan,” said Moffet.

NOAA Maps Of Tsunami Debris

The find was half mile down a steep ridge which takes 20 minutes to reach. Last week he said he came back with a yellow crate that was intact, minus the beer. He said it wasn’t there last time he went down three months ago.

“This crate wouldn’t be cost effective to ship to the United States, so I think it came from Japan,” he said.

If it’s true it would be the first such discovery in California, though Oregon and Washington have seen such debris.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

The Kirin beer factory was hit hard by the quake and a similar but faded crate washed up on shore in Hawaii.

“It’s pretty conclusive to me that I think this came from Japan, from the tsunami,” said Moffet.

Professor Jan Hafner at the University of Hawaii, who has studied this stuff, isn’t convinced.

“It’s hard to prove or disprove exactly where it came from,” said Hafner.

The professor thinks it may be too soon and that the crate is a bit too clean for all that travel, but he admits no one really knows.

Moffet has made not attempts to profit from his discovery.

“Selling it is the wrong thing to do. I don’t think you can put a monetary value on what happen in Japan with the thousands of people losing their lives,” he said.

It sure does make an interesting conversation piece. Even more so than the motorcycle he found on that shore not long ago.

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