Mysterious crate washes up on Windward shore

Published: Oct. 1, 2012 at 3:39 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 1, 2012 at 3:48 AM HST
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John Gallagher
John Gallagher
Stephanie Naess
Stephanie Naess

WAIMANALO, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - WAIMANALO (HawaiiNewsNow) Another mysterious object washed ashore on Sunday. Families found a crate with Japanese characters in waters off Waimanalo.

The item appeared to be a beer crate from the popular Japanese brewery "Asahi." It was spotted at Bellows beach.

John Gallagher, his kids, and several other families were out playing in the waves Sunday afternoon when it rolled in.

"We just thought it was another piece of debris that washed up on the beach but then we saw the Japanese Asahi labeling," said Gallagher, a Hawaii Kai Resident.

"I noticed that it was a beer crate with no beer in it unfortunately," said Stephanie Naess, a beach goer.

Fortunately for her there was no beer in it, because if the crate is actually part of the tsunami debris from Japan, it would have been floating across the Pacific Ocean for over 18-months before landing in Waimanalo. Needless to say, that beer would have been stale. However the crate was carrying something other than alcohol.

"It looked like its been floating for a while, lots of barnacles on it," said Naess.

There was also a small reef fish stuck in the crate. Parents tell us they were able set it free and they didn't think twice about pulling the garbage out of the water.

"Just picked it up, didn't worry too much about it, it's been floating for a long time so I didn't worry about it," said Gallagher.

Meanwhile authorities from NOAA and The Department of Land and Natural Resources have been alerted about the crate. They're urging families to stay away from any suspected tsunami debris and to notify them instead. Officials believe the tsunami debris is not radioactive because most of it was washed out to sea before Japan's nuclear meltdown.

The first confirmed piece of tsunami debris was a blue bin found near Waimanalo two weeks ago. A large dock was last seen floating near Moloka'i and could possibly be heading to Kaua'i. Experts say there's a lot more to come.

"It's not welcomed but that's just part of what takes place in the world when you have big tsunamis, sad thing but that's just part of life," said Gallagher.

Asahi has breweries across Japan, including one in Fukushima that was reportedly damaged in the March 2011 earthquake.

If you happen to come across any suspected tsunami debris, DLNR is asking for you to notify them by calling (808) 587-0400 or emailing NOAA at They're also urging the public to stay away from the items.