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Tsunami damage spreads far and wide

The tsunami that devastated Japan Friday showed effects as far as Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast with reports of wrecked boats and marinas throughout the region.

Officials say a young man taking pictures of the surging waves at the mouth of the Klamath River died in California as a direct result of the tsunami.

In California's Santa Cruz Harbor, the tsunami sank 18 boats and did an estimated $17 million worth of infrastructural damage, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

"It was just a sickening feeling, watching Mother Nature coming through and wreaking havoc," said Larry Evans, who saw his 21-foot fishing boat slam against the dock. "It's a relief to see it out of the water. I know the boat is totaled, but there's a lot of stuff [that may be salvageable] inside the cabin."

Santa Cruz's harbor is expected to remain closed through at least next weekend, said port director Lisa Ekers, as cleanup experts from the Coast Guard and the state Department of Fish and Game take the lead in stabilizing the 1,000-boat facility.

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The cleanup continues at a harbor in Crescent City, Calif., where at least 48 vessels sustained damage and were afloat Sunday. Officials have confirmed 11 sunken vessels in the harbor and another boat grounded at the mouth of the Elk River, 75 miles south of Crescent City.

Debris from the harbor - including buoys, styrofoam chunks of dock, wood pilings and trash from sunken boats - remains scattered around the harbor and the nearby shoreline, including Pebble and South beaches, the Contra Costa Times reported.

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Hundreds of boats in Hawaii were left damaged, drifting or sunk by the tsunami, the Honolulu Star Advertiser reported.

The Coast Guard said 200 boats at the Keehi Small Boat Harbor near Sand Island were affected after docks broke free from their moorings with the boats still attached. Many of the boats floated aimlessly in the lagoon, colliding with each other and, in one instance, slamming into the Sand Island Bridge.

At Maui's Maalaea Harbor, two vessels sank and a third overturned.

State officials estimate that tsunami-related damage to Hawaii's harbors could exceed $3 million. The governor signed a state of disaster proclamation to facilitate relief efforts.

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Oregon, too, sustained damage in the tsunami, with Brookings the worst hit. There, a series of as many as 20 surges of waves that reached 8 feet destroyed at least 75 percent of the harbor, ripping commercial and recreational boats from their slips and bashing them into one another.

Elsewhere along the coast, the waves were smaller, their impact blunted by the morning's low tide, although the surges lifted a boat out of the water and onto the docks at Depoe Bay and did significant damage at the Charleston Marina, said Elise Hamner, a spokeswoman for the Oregon International Port of Coos Bay, which owns the marina.

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