Lost Camera From Japan Turns Washes Ashore in Taiwan... Two Years Later!

(photo by Serina Tsubakihara)

In September of 2015, Serina Tsubakihara, a Japanese university student went scuba diving on vacation with her friends in Ishigaki, Okinawa, and lost her camera. In a quote from the BBC Serina says:

"I was scuba diving and I lost the camera when one of my friends ran out of air and needed my help."

If you've ever been scuba diving you know how scary it can be once you get down there. Most of the time what happens is someone in your group gets too excited by all the wonder around them and they use up too much air too quickly. That's really a thing. When you suddenly are low on air at the bottom of the ocean, it doesn't take long to panic. So, Serina dropped her camera by accident and couldn't dive deeper to get it as they had to surface.

Two years later the camera itself surfaced on the shores of Taiwan... over 155 miles away.

Serina Tsubakihara camera by park lee.jpg
(Serina Tsubakihara camera after two years in the ocean. Photo by Park Lee)

The camera washed up on a beach in Taiwan covered in barnacles, and algae and looked like something recovered from the Titanic. It wasn't until a group of curious school kids found it that they realized what it was. Park Lee, the kid's schoolteacher told the BBC:

"An 11-year old boy found the camera... We thought it was broken but then by chance, knocked off a barnacle on the casing and found a button to open the case."

Now here's the crazy part. Despite how decrepit that camera case looks... it remained watertight. Not a single drop of water touched the camera on its entire two year 155-mile journey to Thailand. Even crazier than that. The camera's battery still had a charge and they were able to scroll through some of the pictures and figure out that the camera owners could be Japanese.

Serina Tsubakihara photo from recovered camera.jpg
(Photo by Serina Tsubakihara from her recovered camera)

"Some children thought we had earned the camera and could keep for ourselves. Others suggested we should try to find the owner - and so we all sat down to think about how to do that."

Mr. Lee told the BBC.
They posted their story on social media in both Chinese and Japanese and it went viral and somehow reached Serina Tsubakihara, who couldn't believe that someone found her camera and was able to recover all the pictures from her trip that she thought she lost. She plans on going back to Taiwan in June to thank the people who found it in person and reclaim the camera.

So, the next time you wonder if your camera case is good enough for a simple dive in your neighbor's pool, know that it might, in fact, be much better than that.