A Kinder, Gentler Tsunami

March 13, 2011 · 5 comments

No, we’re not completely nuts.

And yes, we did go down to our beach on Friday’s glorious spring morning in the company of about fifteen of our neighbors to watch the tsunami surges come in.

In defense of our decision to head towards the water when there was a tsunami warning for our area, please note: the warning was for a 3-4 foot wave during the low of low tide, and we were standing on a cliff 50 feet above the beach where the crows fly at eye level. Plus, it was a beautiful day, and Hwy 92 was completely jammed with the sane people who were “heading for higher ground,” so there would be no heading over the hill any time soon anyway. (There were still cars parked at the summit when I came home from work later on, leading one to the conclusion that there are some VERY nervous people out there.)

In addition, this was our second “potential tsunami with lots of warning” experience in just over a year, so I suppose we were a little more seasoned and calmer about the whole thing.

After all, we walk past this sign every day. It points to our house on the hill.

As the surge started, the water receded farther than we had ever seen it before at any low tide.

Within about three minutes, it had pushed into a decent high tide. We shot some video of one of the surges.

We’ve seen some pretty spectacular water down there in the past year.

But this, while not overly dramatic from an “Oh My! Look at those waves!” kind of way, was amazing to watch. The water just keep coming in, uncoupled from the usual “sets of seven” wave behavior. These weren’t merely waves: this was a tsunami.

We were watching incredibly pure, powerful and beautiful liquid energy pulsing across the empty, broad, beach.

This sand is accustomed to the pounding surge, and no one here was going to get hurt, which made our experience merely benignly fascinating. This, in stark contrast to the videos we watched of the horrific Sendai experience as it unfolded, made our privileged perch that much more profound and sobering.

Why do some people get to live in peace and safety while others don’t?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Judy Curry March 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Wonderful pictures Kathy. Such a contrast to the photos from the tsunami in Japan. Our world is getting a whole lot smaller isn’t it?

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Sue March 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Higher is better.

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Pegi Chesney March 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Thanks you guys for sharing. I have tried to explain what we saw but this shows it perfectly, esp. the video and my lovely voice in the background. Can’t wait to share with my hubby..Great shots!!!

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Charlie March 13, 2011 at 9:00 pm

wow – pretty amazing – prayers go out to those in Japan

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Sandi Fentiman March 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm

Right on Kas/Rick! Never underestimate Mother Nature; give her total respect and for God sake, heed the warnings, even if you have to feel the need to go a little higher up. Better to be safer than sorry.

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