Friday, March 11, 2011

Not Another Tsunami!

We were fortunately watching TV this evening when the reports started coming in about the huge earthquake in Japan.

So we have spent the evening (and now late into the night) monitoring the situation. We have the computer checking 4-5 tsunami-related websites, the TV is on, the VHF is scanning all the local channels, and our cell phones are nearby.

The warning sirens have been going off for a couple of hours, so I'm sure everyone on Oahu knows of the Tsunami Warning status. The ETA of the first wave at Kauai, the island to the west of us, is about 3am. We will then supposedly have 15 minutes or so before it gets to Oahu.

Our friends on Infini called us a couple of hours ago and said they were going to get underway. The Ala Wai basin where they are is pretty exposed. Our friends on Sea Host, in Keehi Lagoon, called to say that their plan is to leave their boat and head for the hills.

We have the navigation computer up with the AIS receiver on, and we can see many of the commercial vessels in the commercial harbor about 5 miles away, getting underway. We can hear 5-6 Coast Guard vessels underway and talking with each other off-channel. The Coast Guard has been on the air on Ch 16 broadcasting the warning several times. And also saying that the Port of Honolulu is closed to all incoming vessels.

So far, we haven't seen any movement of military vessels within Pearl Harbor.

In an internet search of 'tsunami Pearl Harbor', we found a 40-page study done in 2006 assessing the tsunami risk within Pearl Harbor--specifically for the north side of Ford Island, where NOAA is building their new facility for the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. This study studied actual data from 6 of the worst tsunami events in recorded history around the Pacific Basin, and modeled some 'worst case' hypothetical earthquakes. All the results show that Pearl Harbor is pretty safe, and where we are is just about the safest place within Pearl Harbor.

We are in a deep water area, way up inside Pearl Harbor. The other residents of the docks (some who have lived aboard for 15+ years) seem unfazed. They said that last year, they were forced to evacuate the boats when the big tsunami from Chile was on the way. They all just went up the hill just beyond the parking lot, and hung out there for a couple of hours.

We have prepped a 'grab bag' if we decide at the last minute to just evacuate the boat. And we have prepped the boat, in case we decide that getting underway is the best course of action. For now, we are just watching and waiting.

After watching the AIS for a bit, with all those boats out off the harbor milling around in the dark... we are probably safer here than anywhere else.

It's 1am right now. Dave is (predictably) napping, and I am (predictably) up worrying for the both of us. I have instructions to call him at 2am so we can make a decision as to the best course of action.

No comments:

Post a Comment