Canadian Rangers search for tsunami debris on the remote west coast

  • Aug. 31, 2012 12:00 p.m.

A local group of Canadian Rangers spent several days earlier this month hiking along the northwestern coast of Graham Island, searching for tsunami debris and testing their skills. Patrol Commander Tim Wolthers said the Rangers did find some debris, but less of it than a reconnaissance team found when they hiked the same route in July.”We’ve had a southeast storm that may have washed some of that stuff back out,” he explained, “or it may have blown some of the stuff back up into the trees, especially the styrofoam. Some of the stuff was in the same place, but some had moved.” The group hiked from Lepas Bay to Beresford Bay, a distance of around 30 km by coastline, between Aug. 16 and 19. They did make an unusual find between Sialun and Beresford Bays, a four-metre long orange buoy. The buoy has since been identified as a stringer buoy for a seismic streamer, which scan the sea floor for oil and gas research. Ranger Wolthers has sent the identification numbers from the buoy to a friend in the Coast Guard in hopes of finding out its origins.Ranger Wolthers said searching for the debris was the task of the exercise but, “the main purpose was to get the Rangers out into a part of the island they’ve never been before and into that type of environment. It was a physical test, and a mental one, to see if they’re ready to be deployed into remote areas, and in that sense I think it was a success,” he said.