Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami Warning

So much for peace and started with chaos and mayhem. I woke up at 6am (after having only been asleep for 4 hours) to CRH telling me that a tsunami was on the way. I do not wake up well in general, but especially after such a short sleep and to such news. I kept asking questions about what to do, where it was, etc...and then he left for work. Now, I've got to give him props for his work ethic on this one, but seriously wtf?? You CANNOT tell me such news and then head out leaving me to figure out what to do with Eve and our stuff. I was super, extra pissed and conveyed this via text to him and to my mama. My mama got my text and no sooner was she calling me then he came back through the door. I do NOT do well in a crisis at first. I need processing time. All I could think about were the tsunamis in Thailand and Samoa and what devastation was coming our way!
CRH very calmly started packing and directing. I started packing the, makeup, camera, and my jewelry. CRH packed a suitcase full of canned goods. Eve woke up in the midst of this and when I told her what was happening, she started crying. Bless her heart! I was crying too on the inside, but I waited until we were in separate cars to start my own waterworks. People were calling and texting us like crazy checking in on us, as this had made national attention. I kind of lost it a little talking to my mom. I hate fear and I was definitely afraid this morning! We decided to go up Pupukea, which overlooks Waimea Bay, and is one of the highest points on this side. We were afraid that a lot of people would have this idea too, so we left around 7:45am. The roads were remarkably clear BUT the emergency personnel were out in full force instructing people to evacuate. The tsunami warning sirens were blaring every 30 minutes or was just surreal.
When we passed Foodland, there was a line out the door of people with shopping carts waiting to get in. Three police cars were pulling out, presumably crowd control. I was panicked that we did not have enough food (or wine!) should an actual catastrophe hit, but I wasn't about to stop for more at that point. We drove up Pupukea and parked. There is an ancient Hawaiian temple there and if you hike down from it, you can see over Waimea Bay and Shark's Cove. This is where I watched The Eddie in December. Several other people were up there by 8:45 and we decided to go get some provisions and stake our claim to some land. The first wave was expected to hit Oahu around 11:30. As 11:30 drew near, more and more people crowded out to watch the bay. Incidentally, the bay was deserted except for all the boats out in the water. I thought initially that some really stupid people were out boating and just oblivious to the warnings because the surfers were doing the same thing up the beach, but it seems that they actually sent the boats out to protect them...who knew?

A lone lifeguard was driving an ATV up and down the beach, which we found particularly odd. The police closed the road around 10am and everyone just waited. We waited and waited and waited. I mean there are many worse places in the world to spend your Saturday morning other than on the side of a mountain overlooking a world famous beach. As we waited, there were 2 pods of whales that were kind enough to provide some awesome entertainment. These guys kept spouting and breaching. It was so cool to watch! I haven't seen a full breach in the wild before today...just amazing. My mom kept texting me updates and people were sending CRH updates as well. Around noon I think, the first waves hit Hilo on the Big Island. We knew that we were about 30 minutes behind their predicted time, so all eyes were glued to the bay...nothing. It was supposed to hit our south shore the hardest, but promised to engulf all sides. Word kept coming that the Hilo tsunami waves were minimal...nothing like the ones of the 1960s. As it became clear that nothing was going to result from this, we headed back to the car for some AC. We sat there listening to the news that the waves in Hilo just weren't very bad. CRH decided that we should head back home and beat the traffic. We did, but when we got to the Kam Hwy we realized quickly that the road was closed until the tsunami warning was cleared...this took another half an hour.
It was a crazy experience today...terrifying at first and then immense relief in the end. The islands rarely experience craziness like this. We haven't had a tsunami since the 60s. We haven't had a hurricane since the early 90s...hoping it stays that way for a long, long time! I need a nap.

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