Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hawaii Day 3½

there's a fucking tsunami in hawaii right now #hawaiifacts2.44am, 11 Mar 2011 via Twitter for iPhone

We didn't really finish the day with pineapple. The evening was beautiful and I wandered around the Hyatt taking a few photos. The pagoda where, I guess, folks hang out or something?

Pagoda
some loungers by the beach:
Resort
a coastline cabana:
Cabana
a wedding shoot:
Photo Shoot
and a (different) happy couple eating pizza:
S & L

After that we headed out for dinner in Lahaina (Lux joined us for a date in a fancy restaurant and was actually exceptionally well-behaved). And after that was when the fun began.

We were just walking after dinner in Lahaina when a man on the sidewalk told us that there'd been a huge earthquake in Japan and we should start preparing for a tsunami. We weren't sure how seriously to take him but certainly he fully freaked out the elderly couple behind us, whom he told to get gas and head for high ground. For all I know they're still up there, cowering in the hills.

For us, Twitter confirmed the news about the earthquake and by the time we got back to the hotel there was definitely a heightened level of activity as people tried to work out what was going on. At about 9.30pm the sirens went off across the island, and local media alerts confirmed that we should expect the arrival of a tsunami. By 9.35pm we were being moved to a hotel room on a higher floor.

This is the sound which roadblocks local broadcast, by the way, when a tsunami is coming:

Wendy grew up in Colorado with this sound as a tornado warning, and it still makes her instinctively fearful.

By just past 10pm, with more than five hours to go until the swell was supposed to first arrive, we were settled into our new room on the 5th floor. It was surreally calm; Wendy and I kind of looked at each other wondering what now.

We'd seen the first footage on TV of what the tsunami did in Japan (or at least what was available by then) and we'd heard that this is a phenomenally powerful earthquake. Wikipedia already said that it was the seventh greatest ever recorded (today the USGS has it as the fourth largest since 1900). We're in a beachfront hotel on the western shore of Maui and the rental car is valeted in the basement.

We knew that they were evacuating people near the coast who didn't have the option of moving to a high floor, and that there were already long lines at convenience stores and gas stations for water and gas and other provisions. They said the tsunami would arrive at 3.19am (and 3.03am in Honolulu, a little further west than us). With a running start we could be safely at 300ft elevation within about 15 minutes.

We have a seven-month-old baby, still asleep through all of this...

to be continued

1 comment:

Damian Bathory said...

A great view is something I'm very particular about, even when I stay at the serviced apartments in central london. There's just no better way to start the day.