Heaven on Earth - Fall 2006 travel blog


When we were in Honolulu taking the elevator to the 25th floor to our condo, a nervous women in the elevator said, "Oh, I'm so glad that I'm not up that high. I'm so worried about an earthquake happening here." After she got out we chuckled and smugly said to one another, "What a worry wart. That's not going to happen here."

This morning as I was sleeping Ken kicked me and asked me to stop thrashing around. I was groggy and in no position to defend myself. It wasn't until hours later as we watched TV that we realized that what had awakened Ken was not his snoozing wife. He was feeling the bed shake because a 6.6 earthquake had taken place six miles off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii about 350 miles from here. There hasn't been one here of that magnitude since 1983.

Motion sensors cut off the electricity in Oahu as well as Hawaii and this shut down the Honolulu airport, of course. Thinking of that condo on the 25th floor and the flight here from Honolulu we had just taken, we were feeling mighty lucky to be in Kauai where all we have to worry about it the rain that the cold front is still causing. We hear that rock slides have shut some roads on the Big Island and schools will remain closed until they have been inspected for structural damage. The power was off on Waikiki all day and on TV we saw hordes of tourists wandering around in the rain looking for something to eat. Rumors of a tsunami had caused some of them to run inland. There were no restaurants open there either. Many cruise ship passengers arrived and were ready to fly home. First they worried about a tidal wave like the Poseidon Adventure and then they piled up at the airport because without power, tickets could not be issued, baggage x-rayed, etc. That could have been us...

Here people were also worried about a tsunami, although we were quickly assured that one was not caused by this quake. A tsunami would be a serious problem here. There is one road around the circumference of the island; in many places it is right on the shore. Here and there a short road heads upslope, but with the exception of the one that runs alongside the Waimea Canyon, they are only about five miles long. If you got a warning that a tsunami was on the way, there really is nowhere to go.

I am really glad that I have no photographs to show you from the big news in Hawaii today.

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