Visitors from Sister City Rikuzentakata, Japan, appeared to be having a great time Saturday as they toured local attractions in Del Norte County.
The two cities are similar in topography and relevance to the ocean, with hills and evergreens on one side and the ocean on the other. Rikuzentakata also was a working harbor and seafood processing plant inside a small harbor.
The delegation of mostly teachers stopped by the Crescent City Harbor on their tour and was shown around by Deputy Harbormaster Lane Tavasci.
“All in all, I think it went really well,” Tavasci said. “They were all very engaging and listened closely to everything and asked a lot of questions.”
Tavasci said one highlight for the visitors appeared to be an up-close encounter with sea lions hanging out near the harbor office. He said the group also enjoyed the harbor’s audible interpretive boxes, which play information about tsunamis in several languages.
Delegates went on board harbor Commissioner Rick Shepherd’s fishing vessel, Sunset. Tavasci said while on the docks, one noticed marine life clinging below the water, and became interested in looking closer. A boat skipper came by and offered to reach into the water to pry off some of the specimens for closer observation.
“They really seemed to like the hands-on interactions,” he said.
Following a visit to the Museum, and lunch at Perlita’s Mexican Restaurant, delegates were loaded onto a bus and taken into the redwoods for a presentation about locally-filmed movies. Del Norte County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Bill Steven, who was among delegates visiting Rikuzentakata last June, discussed the filming of “E.T.,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Birdbox” and several local commercials and music videos. The group stopped at several redwood locations, including the covered bridge on Douglas Park Drive.
After a quick stop at Jedediah Smith State Park, delegates were brought back to the Veterans Memorial Building in Crescent City where they found a prop from the movie “Return of the Jedi” known to locals as the Ewok Rock.
For a long time, the rock was located inside the Fort Dick Market, owned by Clyde and Dawn Eller. When the two retired in 2016, the rock left the store but somehow ended up in Steven’s possession.
Delegates were allowed to view and photograph the prop before sitting down at a drum circle. Hosted by Del Norte Association for Cultural Awareness, the drum circle expanded on its program of offering drum circles for veterans and family members as a therapy tool, according to member Kymmie Scott.
Delegates and others were allowed to join in and improvise on rhythms and were shown various drums and how they work.
The group ended their day with dinner at Northcoast Ocean Sports Bar and Grill. The following morning, they left for Sacramento, along with Del Norte County Supervisor Chris Howard and Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore to meet with state officials.