Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tsunami morning in Kehena

I thought something was up when I got a call before 6AM Saturday morning. It was my sister from the mainland asking if I knew about the tsunami. I was still half asleep and thought she was talking about the one for Japan because of the Okinawa earthquake. She said no, the Chile earthquake, there was one coming maybe to Hawaii. I had no idea. Then, right at 6AM the first tsunami sirens started to go off. This is something I'd never experienced. The siren regularly goes off every first Monday of the month at noon, that's the only time I'd ever heard it go off. It's just a drill.

I walked over to Arthur's house armed with a camera and binoculars. We're on pretty high ground so I didn't think even if a tsunami hit it would affect us (at 800 ft. from the beach but probably the equivalent of 8-10 stories up), the cliffs being maybe 5 stories high. Plus lots of jungle in between to offset a tidal wave.

Normally, we have life drawing on Saturday mornings but since the roads were closed along most of the Red Road (our main road that runs along the coast) I didn't think anyone would be coming and so by default the session would be cancelled. But right at 9AM (with sirens now blaring every hour), Richard showed up with participants and a model. So with the pending tsunami we still had life drawing. Of course, by 11AM I was so distracted that I couldn't continue and Miss Yumiko and I went down to see if we could watch the tsunami roll in. Arthur just laughed and stayed with the class. Here's what we saw....

The only clue that something was amiss was this civil defence road flag left from when civil personnel weren't letting people into certain neighborhoods.

There was a group of us spectators waiting to see and just watching the surf surge back and forth kind of like normal, maybe slightly higher but not really too different from our normal high surf.

Well, it was kind of a rush, the expectation and all but after the appointed time came and went without a tsunami it was life back to normal.

The coolest thing that happened yesterday is that we did spot some whales later that day cruising by.

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