Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tsunami in Oahu

The day after flying back to Oahu we had the Tsunami warning.

Here is a cool image of the expected wave impact throughout the pacific from the Chilean earthquake.

We got a knock at about 6am from a neighbor. Knowing we had until about 11am made it much less stressful.

The family was well prepared, and we had extra water, food, and clothes loaded in less than 30 minutes.

It was nice that we could take vehicles - if we had to evacuate on foot there would have been MUCH less to take.

We also threw in games - those proved to be invaluable.

Many of the families from Lai'e had started to gather in the hills above town.

We didn't want to drive too far - the highway is right on the beach in many places on the north shore, and a wave could easily prevent us from returning home.

It was a big, neighborhood picnic.

After the first load was setup and the kids were safe, some of us went back into town to get more gear.

A local's first response is always to grab a surfboard... and if they can't surf, they make sure the boards are SAFE.

This next load we got just essentials - the BBQ grill, chicken, pizza, cookies... comfort food!

The games and canopy covering were the most important items we took. Especially with several hours to wait for the wave to come, it was very helpful to keep the kids occupied (and the parents sane).

Only about half of the town actually evacuated. Many in Lai'e were high enough, far enough inland, and had 2-story homes so they decided to tough-it-out.

The rest of us hiked "Hinckley Hill" to get a better look at the wave.

The hill gave a beautiful lookout of the town and beaches.

Fortunately, the clouds and shade on the hill also gave relief from the heat.

That water sure looks inviting! This was the only day I didn't get to snorkel 2 or 3 times. Bummer!

The kids that didn't have games to play found other entertainment - hunting scorpions!

The kept busy and had alot of LOUD fun. And they caught several bugs, too!

Here is one of the scorpions they caught.

Pretty small, and tough to see in the wild. Definitely check the sleeping bags more thoroughly next time...

The crowd gathered at 11am, and the radio updated that the wave would hit WaiKiKi at 11:30am.

The radio updates were also invaluable. Another nice thing is that cellphone coverage was available, and phone updates to loved ones back in the States made it all much less stressful.

The wave never did show up. We finallly headed down to take a load of gear back to the house at 1:15pm. At 1:38pm they sounded the "alls clear" and the women and children came home.

It was alittle disappointing that no wave showed up. Everyone was very grateful and relieved it didn't though. A real blessing. A good drill, too. Long lines at the gas pump and grocery stores were a good reminder to be ready!

If a quake had happened on the Big Island, Oahu would have had a 10-20 minute warning. Very different scenerio.

After unloading, we drove into Honolulu and saw a great 3-D movie on the IMAX. A great ending to a fun and uneventful day.