I finished up the previous post, still very relaxed from 3 glasses of rioja, and got ready for bed. I read through my RSS feed as I drank a few bottles of water to rehydrate, and as I turned off the TV to go to sleep, my dad called and said there had been anearthquake and a possible tsunami.
Now, if you know my dad you know he doesn’t always listen to the details…so I didn’t really think much of it. But, a quick search of the googles and I knew he was right. Our hotel was directly on the beach on Waikiki, and another quick search showed we were in the tsunami inundation zone. I didn’t know what to think…I had watched last February when the tsunami was nothing but a few big waves on the beach, but I had also
seen footage of the Indonesian tsunami. Actually, the think that instant
ly came to mind was Nate from Oprah telling his story about losing his partner in the tsunami. Not sure why that stuck out, but it did.
The hour or two after hearing about the tsunami was cha
otic. My dad said he was packing so I followed suit. He was on the phone with the airline, deciding if we should stay or go. Eventually, after hearing th
e area would be shut down, we decided to go. We drove to the
airport, which seemed to be opene
d, and tried to get a hotel room. All of the hotels at the airport were full. We drove around for a while, eventually making the decision we were best off back at the hotel.
Civil defense sirens had been blaring hourly since about 10 PM, and as we drove back into Waikiki around 1:45 AM, cops were on the street making lo
aker announcements to clear the streets. We made our way back to the 14th floor, littered with refugees from lower floors curled up with their comforters in the hallway. I knew we were going to try to fly out around 6 AM, so I tried to get some sleep until the event started. It was diffic
ult because every 15 minutes or so the hotel made annou
ncements over an intercom system…I had no idea the intercom even existed.
Around 3 AM I got up and went out on the balcony. It was ca
lm, and lots of people were on their balconies watching. There were a few helicopters in the sky, beaming light down on Waikiki. I’m not sure if the were sweeping the beach for people or checking out the surf. At one point four or five people from a
hotel down the way got in the water, but as soon as the helicopter appeared they got out again.
The event itself wasn’t really that dramatic, although it was interesting. You could see the water receding, being drawn out by some unseen force. When it came back it sounded like a freight train, but the waves didn’t come up too high. I watched this hap
pen a few times, the water turning foamy near the shore, but other than the receding and waves coming back, it was really a nonevent on Waikiki. Which was great. Around 4 I went back to sleep, and by 5:30 we left for the airport.
The pictures aren’t great, taken in the dark of night with a camera phone, but they do show a bit of the strangeness of the ocean, and the helicopters flying around.