Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami (take two!)

Last year I experienced my first tsunami. Last night started a more interesting second experience.
As I am usually up by or before 4am for work so I get to bed early. Isaac woke me up at 9:30 to tell me Japan had a tragic earthquake and that a tsunami was due our way at about 3am. Fortunately the place we are staying is well out of reach of a tsunami.

I tried getting back to sleep but woke up twice from tremors from an earthquake (or two in succession, can't remember, too groggy) and never got back to sleep. Isaac was up all night, burning the midnight oil, making sure all aircrafts were taken care of and keeping his on call pilots updated.
All the resorts were evacuated. Some guests never got to return because of flooding and had to be relocated to different hotels.

After last year, I initially expected a lot of excitement followed by zero damage. But Alii drive was torn up, the King Kam and Four Seasons both experienced flooding, and a few homes/structures (impossible to tell if they were homes or not) were even taken down further south (pictures to follow. Will caption them later when not using my phone).

My boss chartered one of his own aircraft to see how Kona was holding up, and I was allowed to go. We took a life raft and several spare life vests in case we saw anyone in need of help. We never had to drop them, and hopefully that's a good thing. I gave my boss a big hug, since I was grateful for the opportunity to partake in that flight. I know some people get irritated with helicopter noise, but I hope everyone can appreciate that the owner of the company was being a genuine good samaritan. It's not cheap to operate one of those birds!

All the photos i got were from helicopter and were taken by camera phone.
I hope we can all find it in our hearts to do some kind of outreach to those in Japan. Who in Japan did not lose a friend, sibling, child, parent, lover or spouse today?

Above: Kailua pier, Alii drive, and the King Kamehameha Hotel. Hard to see from so high, but this area received some of the worst damage on the island.

Planks, pieces of wood, and pieces of wall are scattered around. Parts of a house that was pulled to sea and taken apart.

From here you can see in to Kealakekua bay. That large rectangle is the roof of a house. The entire house was pulled into the bay and there it floats...

A slightly closer look at Kailua pier. That water is usually azure blue and crystal clear.

1 comment:

Julie said...

So glad you are both safe. Thanks for posting pictures.