Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net

Tsunami Day

February 28th, 2010

When I was ten years old and living in Waikiki, my school teacher showed us a film about a tsunami in Japan. I don’t remember any details–it might even have been animation–I just remember the lasting terror that film instilled in me. It felt personal, because my Dad was in the process of moving us to the north shore of Oahu, where we would be living in a beach house set back about 12 feet from the sand. It didn’t take much imagination to think that we might all be crushed and swept out to sea–and indeed there were some terrifying moments living in that house, when the surf turned gigantic, running through the yard and throwing spray on the windows–but thankfully the tsunami never showed up.

The danger is real though. Hawaii has suffered severe tsunami events in the past, and statistically we are way overdue for another.

So when a friend called at 6am on Saturday morning to make sure we knew a tsunami warning had been posted, it wasn’t exactly a shock. My husband already knew about it, but I had gone to sleep before the Chilean earthquake. Our own home wasn’t in any danger since we live way up the side of a mountain, but if Maui’s harbor was damaged there would soon be a shortage of supplies and gasoline on our very non-self-sufficient island, and if the power plant was damaged, who knows how long we would have to go without electricity?

So we joined the lines of people at the gas station, made a quick run to the grocery store (rice & spam are golden in our culture if a shortage is expected), and finished our circuit at the ATM machine.

Then it was home to watch the TV and Twitter coverage.

As you probably know, the actual event was anti-climatic, and for that we are very grateful. We know it won’t always be this way–and our hearts go out to the people of Chile, who have suffered so many terrible earthquakes in the past.

Posted on: Sunday, February 28th, 2010 at 8:48 am
Categories: Maui.

5 Responses to “Tsunami Day”

  1. Mark White Says:

    Tsunamis are unpredictable in size even if highly predictable in timing after the earthquake or landslide. Here’s hoping the big one just gets more and more overdue, because that just makes it less and less likely to happen soon, rather than more (statistics for these events are funny that way). Still, you live with the uncertainty, and for that you have my sympathies.

  2. Linda Says:

    Well, we all live with uncertainty–most of us just don’t like to admit it. 😉 In truth, earthquakes and hurricanes offer just as much threat here. We try to be prepared; that’s about all we can do.

  3. Toby Neal Says:

    Hi Linda,
    I like your blog and wrote about the tsunami on mine as well. Check out my site and see my ‘bookcovers’ both by Dallas!
    Hope we can meet someday.

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi Toby–thanks for writing. I keep telling Dallas to introduce us, but she never quite manages to. And I envy you those book covers. I’ve been waiting a long time for mine! I’ve bookmarked your blog. Yours looks a lot more active than mine. 🙂 I look forward to reading more.

  5. Toby Neal Says:

    Thanks Linda! Let’s meet sometime! I remember you are in Kula close to Desiree’s place where I used to do Capoeira with the kids until injuries got me to quit.
    Thanks for leaving me a note on the blog, I’m trying to do it pretty often and make it interesting with Maui commentary, etc.