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Officials assessing tsunami damage to Crescent City, Fort Bragg harbors

State, federal, and local officials assembled in Crescent City on Saturday to survey the damage wrought by waves surging to 8.1 feet one day earlier as a tsunami resulting from a Japan's worst-ever earthquake struck the California coast.

Authorities have yet to take a stab at estimating losses there, but Del Norte County Sheriff Dean Wilson said the Crescent City harbor — the center of the area's commercial fishing and tourism industry — was destroyed and would represent an enormous economic loss.

"The fishing industry really identifies our community," Wilson said. "It's been the heart and soul of our community for hundreds of years, and especially when we lost the timber industry up here, it really became the focal point for our area."

Tsunami Tide In Fort Bragg

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In Fort Bragg, fishing resumed out of Noyo Harbor, despite the loss of docks and some boats there.

Gregg Stevens, harbor master at Dolphin Isle Marina about a mile down the Noyo River from the ocean was trying to figure out how to raise a boat that sank upside down at the mouth of the marina, preventing anyone else from coming in or out.

The sunken vessel had run aground and been abandoned until shifting waves lifted it from its resting place and deposited it at a most inopportune place.

"We hope to have that resolved today," Steven said. "We are the only fuel dock in 160 miles of coast, so we have to get this open real quick."

He also lost about 44 slips because of docking that broke apart in the waves, though the moored boats were saved as he and several fisherman battled to keep them in place Friday.

"We didn't have any choice," Stevens said. "I really didn't want those guys on the dock at all, but I didn't have any real choice. We were looking at a lot of expensive boats going out to sea slamming on things on their way out."

Closer to the mouth of the harbor, Noyo Fishing Center owner John Geber marveled at how well the nearby marina fared.


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