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Tsunami: Docks ripped out in Fort Bragg fishing community

March 11, 2011 | 12:50 pm

Bragg Surges of water hit the tiny town of Fort Bragg, 200 miles south of Crescent City, witnesses say, ripping out docks and filling the water with debris, and closing off exits and entrances to the port.

Fort Bragg is an epicenter of California's fishing community, and dozens of boats leave from there to fish crab, black cod and salmon.

"It's pretty brutal," said Charles D. Smith, a fisherman who owns a boat called the Miss Smith. "The ends of the docks are floating around all over the place."

Smith got down to the harbor early in the morning and battened down his hatches. Other fishermen sailed to sea earlier Friday to escape damage in port. There won't be anywhere for them to dock when they return, he said.

"They lucked out in a sense -– they're not going to have to run around cleaning stuff up," he said.

The harbor commission will have to replace the docks and clear away the debris, which could slow down fishing in and out of the harbor, a sleepy place where sea lions often sun themselves. It's currently black cod season.

"It's a nuisance," Smith said.

John Gebers, who owns Noyo Fishing Center, in the harbor at Fort Bragg, said that four-foot surges are still rolling in and up the river that winds out of Noyo Bay.

"It's strange, it makes it look like the river reverses direction," he said by phone from the riverbank, where 50 people were standing to watch from land. "It's still surging."

Fort Bragg and Crescent City were the two cities hit hardest by the tsunami caused by a 1964 earthquake.


Much of Crescent City harbor destroyed as 4 swept out to sea

Waves in Santa Cruz damage docks, jostle boats like a ‘major car collision’

Tsunami could help clear out dead fish in Redondo Beach

-- Alana Semuels

Map shows location of Fort Bragg. Source: Google Maps