How One Japanese Mariner Took the Tsunami Head On and Won

With tsunami warnings blaring, 64-year-old Susumu Sugawara didn't head for higher ground like most of the 3500 or so inhabitants of Oshima, the small island on which he lives. Sugawara knew that if he let the storm destroy his fleet, his island risked becoming isolated after the calamity subsided. So he got in his favorite boat, "Sunflower," said goodbye to the rest of his fleet, and headed out to sea to face the tsunami head-on.

Click to viewIn the video to the left, Sugawara explains how he crashed through four or five waves which he estimated were up to 20 meters tall—nearly four times the size of the waves his boat was used to facing. Incredibly, he navigated through the storm successfully and has been ferrying people to and from the mainland for the last three weeks. He was right when he made his heroic decision: for the first two of those weeks, the Sunflower was the only vessel making the trip. [CNN]