The Wave

March 5, 2010

Last week there was an 8.8 earthquake in Chile. Imagine hearing about this on the news…and then hearing there is a Tsunami warning for Hawaii…and then realizing you’re on a ship off the coast of Honolulu.


Normally Saturday morning is filled with early morning announcements of who is cleared to leave the ship. The luggage tags you pick are connected to a departure time somewhere in between 7:00am-9:30am.

Instead, we awoke to one announcement letting everyone know why we were still at sea, and that same announcement given in Japanese.

Everything on the coast was evacuated, supposedly. The harbor was closed. Besides, the ship and everyone on it would be safest out at sea.

Everyone was following news reports: what had been hit, projected times, etc. We were supposed to get tsunami’d at 11:25am.

Now, this wouldn’t be the movie version of a 100ft tall wave blocking out the sun and sending us to Atlantis. It was reported that it would be 3-6ft high, which doesn’t sound that bad except that it have a lot of speed and force behind it. On land that could have meant easy destruction. At sea that would have meant the ship kind of bobs up and over it.

All in all the tsunami never really happened. The water level raised and lowered about a meter in Hilo and that was the worst of it.

The coast guard still needed to clear the harbor and around 4pm they allowed us to come in and start the process we normally start at 7:00am.

For the situation, I never felt like I was closer to a potential natural disaster while feeling like I was in the safest place.