Tsunami – Feb 27, 2010

It was 6:30 am and I had just tuned into the weather channel.  Austyn, Brian and Liam along with Brian’s sister Amy were flying into LA and driving up for 5 days.  Jeff and I had been checking the weather channel for up-dates.  Driving in the rain in California is almost as bad as driving in a snow storm in Wisconsin.  Across the bottom of the screen was a red warning signal with the words TSUNAMI.

Tsunami?, I thought, where is there a Tsunami.  As the words passed in the red box I recognized the city of Santa Barbara.  It was expected to reach there at 12:31.  Santa Barbara, California? We are only an hour north of there. As I continued to watch the warning, the anchor began talking about the earthquake in Chile.  As the morning progressed it was made very clear that this earth quake, the 5th largest recorded had changed the world. And yes, it had created a Tsunami that could have an effect on the entire Pacific Coast.

I want to watch it, I thought. We headed to the beach around 12:20; standing on the cliffs overlooking the beach we waiting in anticipation for whatever this was that we were going to see. During the morning I had learned much about tsunamis. This force that traveled not on the top of the water, but actually along the ocean floor, could travel 500 miles an hour. In shallow or confined areas such as harbors this force could suck out all the water and replace it with a force of water that could due damage. After watching for several minutes, we realized that we were not going to see anything breathe taking.

An hour and a half later we returned and our breath was taken away. The tide was so far out the beach looked three times its normal size. If we had wanted to we could have actually walked out to the end of the pier, not one the pier but on the sand below.  The end of pier was usually where you stood and watched the surfer beneath you.  The end of the pier typically felt like the middle of the ocean. A force so huge had literally drain our beach, it was amazing to watch.

That evening after the arrival of our kids we headed back to the beach for dinner and a walk.  All seemed normal, people out on the pier, surfers on the water and families walking along the sand. As Austyn and I walked away she commented; “It’s been quite a day.” “Yes”, I said, “An earthquake, a tsunami, a plane ride into LA, BBQ at Mo’s, and a walk on the pier…it’s all in a day here in Pismo Beach.”

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