Looking for a Catamaran Cruising Blog?

If you found this blog via a link from a cruising site ~ we did cruise Mexico on our Ocean 49 cat for a season. See the first text box on the right for links to our preparations, trip down Baja, life in Mexico, cruising and trip back up to SoCal. Unfortunately we are back to the grind in the USA...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Whole Tsunami Story ~ Fun at Tsea

So first of all, thanks to Nancy in Texas for calling us at 5:30 am on Friday!
And for me for figuring out it was the phone making that racket instead of the alarm clock...
I usually leave my phone in the main salon to charge overnight.
New Rule #1: My phone sleeps with us now!

Ok, so after I figured out what the hell she was talking about, up we were.
Me down the dock to wake our liveaboard tenants.
Jim to start engines and un-spiderweb us from the dock.
A few neighbors followed us out of the harbor ~ Stan actually beat us out of the harbor!
Out to deep water.

1st question to each other: How far out are we supposed to go?
And why is it so bloody lumpy and crappy out here?
Oh, that was the second question.
Our 1st question was being answered when we started having poor cell reception.
Obviously, this was far enough.

We hovered and wallowed.
Watched other boats come out and hover and wallow near us.
Including the National Park Service Boat (who were probably tearing their docks up when the surges started!).
We were getting continual updates via phone calls, vhf transmissions and yes, facebook.
Yep, facebook.

Andy and Anchors Way were posting updates as to surges, times, situations and speculations.
After hours of hovering and wallowing and watching Stan and other boats roll like pigs, we had pretty much had enough.
How long can we stay out here hovering ~ all night?
Hmmm... How much diesel do we have?
New Rule #2: Full fuel tanks.
How much beer do we have?
New Rule #3: Full on back up of all hops products.
What about coffee beans?
Rest of the New Rules:
Back to having cruising provisions on-board.
No wineglasses or shotglasses left on counter ovenight.
Locked cabinets.
Full water tanks.
And all the rest of that crap we have gotten so complacent about.

Time to go in, right?
I mean I was an expert ~ I had watched the Chilean tsunami 13 months before.
It should be dying down now.
Let's go in!

Got many different opinions, some from phones, some from the dreaded facebook and the one that counted, was the Harbor Patrol via vhf.
Ok, we will pick them.
They win!

Amazingly enough the surges, swirling and craziness had not calmed down, but had worsened.

We finally got the "ok" to come in the entrance by the Harborales, however not the "ok" to return to our slip.
The awesome Harbor Patrol had arranged for a guest slip further inside the harbor, where we should be much safer.
Less surge.
Less craziness.
They escorted us in, showed us the dock, grabbed our docklines and even gave us a dock key.
The Harborales rock!

So less surge, right?

Actually yes, but still had that sense of craziness.

Again, me being the expert:
"Hey, the Chilean one was gone by now ~ let's hit The Village for celebratory drinks and dinner!"
All good until 1:00 am.

Not all good.
The surging, rushing, forceful water woke us up and once again we flew out of bed.
The water was rising incredibly fast.
And high.
High enough for us to believe the docks could feasibly float off of the pilings.
We had both engines on, running lights on and two of four docklines off.
Jim had knife in hand for the others while I was wiping the dew off of isenglass.
Wiping and mumbling over and over: "Please stop, please stop, please stop".
The water was now touching the bottoms of the piling caps.
Absolutely frightening.
Then it stopped.
The ebb started.
Huge, unbelievable relief.
Back to bed.
Only for it to happen again at 5:00 am, but with a much lower tide.
And then again at 8:00 am.
And about every two hours after that.
All day long.

The harbor was closed, so we stayed put until Sunday morning.
When I think the harbor was still closed, but we returned to our slip anyway.
Big mistake...
Remember, we are parked at the narrowest part of the harbor entrance.
Neighbors came in, lost control in the surge and went backwards at about 4 knots hitting our boat and another.
More ugh.
The sound was horrifying.
For the second time in the course of the weekend I thought we were going to lose our boat.
Amazingly enough there was very little damage to our boat.

The surges continued throughout Sunday.
Monday brought weird lump coming into the harbor.

Videos, stories, youtube, news, boats smashed, three other friends had boats hit in Ventura, harbors reporting major damage, one injury in Ventura, Sailing Center docks floated free with several boats damaged...

Nothing compared to Japan.


Ruth said...

Wow, Great footage. A friend said that they had similar current in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. Here, in Auckland we didn't feel anything - but as you wrote - nothing in comparison to Japan. Love from the Kamayans and please pass on the word that our home is for sale - www.stevens50.com

judith said...

Omg... I was just looking at the earthquake tracker for Japan. They had 49 'shakes' yesterday alone, ranging from 4.0's to 6.3. They were all east, off the coast. I bet they would follow you in a course of "make it stop."

judith said...

BTW, I like your ICE list. Things you don't think of on a daily basis. I remember my old uncle who lives in San Diego would always fill his gas tanks when they reached 1/2 empty. Did you update your ICE numbers in your cell phone? I did that yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Glad you guys are ok!


Jim and Heather on Meerkat said...

Um... sort of acronymed out - ICE? My NR list (new rule)?
My dad taught us to always fill our gas tanks no lower than 1/4 of a tank. We haven't taken the boat over to the fuel dock (still kind of weird in here, lumpy and all with big surf), but did dump a jerry can in one tank. Next stop, coffee beans! And more hops.
Ruth - kind of sad to know your boat is for sale... nice boat though!
Thanks Eric!

judith said...

ICE = In Case of Emergency

"Seattle" Heather said...

So glad you, Jim & Meerkat are fine! Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

Heathrow and Jimbo.....the heart of it is that you both are safe and your lovely boat is not damaged (much). We were fortunate and left Barra Navidad as 'Apple' told your Jim...miss you; ps: you are a terrific writer, Heathrow!