"The Love of His Life" – The Epic Journey of the Kazu Maru

by Lynn Salmon 2014

Kazu Maru

The Kazu Maru on display on the waterfront at Prince Rupert BC. (Photo from the Laura Yerex collection. )

When I lived and worked in Prince Rupert in the early 2000s I was always intrigued by a 27–foot Japanese fishing vessel housed and displayed near the waterfront. The vessel itself was nothing special to my untrained eye but it’s story was captivating, spanning the Pacific Ocean on an unintentional journey from Owase Japan to the northwest coast of Canada.

Kazu Maru

The Kazu Maru on display on the waterfront at Prince Rupert BC. (Photo from the Laura Yerex collection. )

In September 1985 Kazukio Sakamoto took his vessel, the Kazu Maru, out to fish in local waters. Tragically neither he nor the boat returned home. A year and a half later the Kazu Maru was found in Skidegate Channel (the body of water that separates the north and south islands that make up Haida Gwaii) by the DFO patrol vessel Sooke Post. It was quickly established that the overturned vessel had been a considerable time at sea.

Eventually the Kazu Maru was taken to Prince Rupert where she was restored and an open shed was built for display. A plaque nearby commemorates her voyage and a park surrounds the shed, built as a dedication to all mariners whose lives have been lost at sea. Sakamoto’s wife referred to the Kazu Maru as ‘the love of his life’ and indicated he would have been happy to know the little craft was part of a park honouring mariners, recognizing the danger of a life at sea.

Coincidentally, the two cities of Owase and Prince Rupert had become ‘sister cities’ in 1968 so it’s perhaps appropriate that this stoic little craft should find its way across the seas to her ‘second home port’ of Prince Rupert.



To quote from this article please cite:

Salmon, Lynn (2014) "The Love of His Life" – The Epic Journey of the Kazu Maru. Nauticapedia.ca 2014. http://nauticapedia.ca/Articles/Kazu_Maru.php

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