The tsunami dealt a large blow to the city of Rikuzentakata, Japan in 2011. Cherished memories were either destroyed or lost out at sea from the tsunami’s sheer force. Who knew that one small boat would miraculously wash up on the shores of California and make an unlikely connection between two groups of high school students across the world?

Watch the video that tells the incredibly heartwarming story:

When first found in Crescent City, the boat was caked with barnacles.

The students of Del Norte High School in Crescent City, California cleaned the boat.

They then returned the boat to Rikuzentakata.

Even when the communications infrastructure went down, the city could turn to social media as a lifeline. The Rikuzentakata facebook page continues to bring all sorts of support and assistance to the Rikuzentakata survivors.