Tsunami Evacuation

Trip Start Oct 22, 2012
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Trip End Nov 23, 2012


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Flag of United States  , Hawaii
Sunday, October 28, 2012

A lot has happened since I last posted a blog... In fact, within hours of posting the previous entry, noteworthy events occurred that sent us on an unplanned adventure.  

The morning after my previous blog entry, we awoke before the sun had risen above the horizon, to find our campground neighbors - a local couple named Heidi and Poko - had left us a treat: two fresh coconuts!  Poko, a Hawaiian fellow who spoke Pidgin, had managed to convey to me the night before over a beer, that he would collect and prepare a couple coconuts for our breakfast.  So all we had to do was poke a finger through the exposed flesh carved out of the top of the coconut, drink the delicious milk and then carve out and eat the tasty flesh.

That night, our authentic Hawaiian experience continued...

I was sitting around camp at Spencer Beach Park after dark writing in my journal.  The moon had begun to rise and the calm, cloudless, night was unexpectedly interrupted by the Tsunami Warning alarms that began to blare loudly.  These heart-stopping, ear-drum-destroying sirens scared the bejeezus out of us.  

While both Mariajose and I (in the back of our minds anyways) had an idea what was going on, it was not until another camper came up to us and confirmed our fear that a Tsunami was headed this way!  Moments later, the campground security guard told us to evacuate camp.  Semi-panic stricken, we began to break camp and ended up simply throwing everything into the car within about 5 minutes.  

We were then in the middle of traffic headed inland for the town of Kamuela (Waimea), which is about 2,400' a.s.l.  Unable to find the evacuation gathering point we found a nice little motel, the Kamuela Inn, to spend the night.  The innkeeper here was incredibly concerned and caring, and more than willing to offer us a discounted room for the night!

It was here that we turned on the TV, learned of the 7.7M earthquake off the coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, that threatened islands the Pacific.  We also learned that about 2.5 hours after the initial Tsunami Warning alarms began, waves of between 2 and 3 feet reached the Hawaiian Islands... nothing life-threatening, or economically damaging... but in my opinion, it was certainly better to be safe than sorry!

The next day we were permitted to return to Spencer Beach, where we took it easy and prepared for a hike the following day.  It was interesting to eavesdrop on locals' conversations and hear the different feeling towards the State of Hawaii issuing a Tsunami Warning.  Some felt it was a good exercise in protecting human life; others felt it simply a waste of time and tax dollars.
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