That Time We Almost Died in a Tsunami

After the Chile earthquake occurred last night, there was a tsunami advisory.  It wasn’t played up to be a Big Deal, or anything; more like something they had to do for legal reason than something to be seriously worried about.

This morning we were woken up at 4:30 with a text message from Wes’ coworker (and our neighbor), “Did you see the news?”  Thinking it was from last night, we went back to sleep.  Or at least tried to.  At 5:00 there was a phone call from the same person.  “Are you watching the news?  The tsunami is supposed to hit at 11:30.”  We figured it might be time to turn on the news and see just what was happening.  And what was happening was that the small tsunami advisory from last night and become a full-on Tsunami Warning, complete with evacuation zones and lists of things to have in case power and water went out.  Being only three miles inland I felt certain that we would have to evacuate, but when we checked the map it turned out that we were far enough inland.

So we decided to go back to sleep.  Or at least try.   But by 6:30 our neighbors invited us to get some supplies and we figured that it couldn’t hurt to be prepared for power and water outages.  Our first stop was for gas for the neighbors.  They are military so we started out for the military gas station.   I guess we should have started earlier, though, because the line was several miles long.

From that stop sign, vehicles turn left and that line was just as long.  We decided to try our luck at Costco and hope that the lines would be faster, if not shorter.  There were a lot of people there, but the parking lot was a lot bigger so it didn’t seem as long.  We ended up only having to wait about 15 minutes.

We heard that the power in our area goes out fairly easily, so after fueling up we decided to head over to Safeway to stock up on water and non-perishables.  We’ve been trying to eat healthier and not keep too much processed food in our house, so if the power went out for an extended period of time we would have just about nothing.  Our Safeway, it turns out, is open 24 hours so they were totally cleaned out of a lot of stuff.

Instead of water, we ended up with 16 bottles of tonic water, which we planned on emptying and filling up with tap water to use if needed.  We got a lot of soups, pasta and even sardines (really, just an excuse to purchase something I’ve been sort of craving).  And, don’t worry, the donuts refilled and we definitely had some.  All diet rules are off in a state of emergency, I say.

Since Safeway was out of batteries we headed over to K-Mart to see what they had.  Of course, the first thing we saw when we walked in was bottled water.  The line also wrapped around the entire store.   I think it took us something like 30 minutes to get through it.

While we were standing in line our neighbors got the call that they were being evacuated.  All military and military families were to report to their base on higher ground.  They asked if we wanted to go but we opted to wait it out – afterall, once you’re on base you don’t leave until they let you.  Instead we hunkered down and prepared for the worst.

Then we settled in to watch the news and see how this played out.  Some friends who live much closer to the beach and were just on the cusp of the evacuation zone opted to join us for the afternoon.  But instead of being a TSUNAMI it was just a tsunami.  The waters in Hilo rose.

And then they fell.

And then, just like that, the news turned to the Olympics and everything was clear.  Our part of the island’s waters rose only six-tenths of a foot.  Much ado about nothing, in the end.  Which is a good thing.  But we were kind of hoping that something would happen to justify the craziness surrounding this.  No injuries or deaths, but to see the waters rise on the streets.

Well, at least we’re stocked for any future natural disasters.


Filed under Beach Living, Hawaii, You have got to be fucking kidding me

2 responses to “That Time We Almost Died in a Tsunami

  1. I loved reading this and seeing your photos! I don’t live in Hawaii, but I was glued to the “almost tsunami” coverage on TV. Found you on 20SB… looking forward to seeing more of your photography!

    • d

      Thanks! I look forward to taking more pictures – hopefully they get better as time goes on. I was definitely glued to the news all day Saturday. And, much like you, we all felt a little foolish for getting so worried. Better safe than sorry, though.

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