When the tsunami sirens went off and everyone fled for the hills, 64-year-old Susumu Sugawara ran for his boat. He steered the abalone fishing boat Sunflower out to sea, cresting over the tsunami as it headed to shore. "I talked to my boat and said you've been with me 42 years,” he says. “If we live or die, then we'll be together, then I pushed on full throttle." He made it over the waves, and later that night navigated past wrecked boats and floating houses on his way back to the island of Oshima. For the first two weeks after the tsunami, his boat was the island's only connection to the mainland, and he's been ferrying passengers and supplies back and forth every hour, asking those who can afford it for $3.50 to cover fuel, and waiving the fare for those who can't.
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