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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Aloha From Waikoloa - We survived the Earthquake

After our first hand report about the earthquake on Sunday 10/15/06 from a Kona Resident, we got this detailed report from a Waikoloa resident, whose family experienced the earthquake on the Kohala Coast. Big Island residents who read this personal account, will find valuable recommendations for being prepared for an earthquake or another natural disaster.

'Aloha from Waikoloa - We survived the Earthquake' Written by Sharon 10/20/06

Sharon is a Big Island resident who lives in Waikoloa. She also teaches a free stretch class for seniors each Wednesday 10 - 11am at
Tutu's House. As there are so many people on the mainland wondering what happened on the day of the earthquake and how Big Island residents coped with it, Sharon agreed to share her email to her family and friends with our visitors of the Kohala Coast Vacation Guide. Mahalo Sharon!

Hi there, Warren, Mom, Einstein and I are just fine!
First of all, thank you everyone for your concern and support. We are truly blessed with sooooo many great friends and family. I was so shocked that my buddy Carolyn called all the way from Bahrain a couple hours after the earthquake hit. It was on the news worldwide. Sorry I didn’t respond sooner. We are still cleaning up – almost done. People are still calling and emailing to find out if we are okay, so I figured I better send something to let you know we survived.

I was spared the horror of having to experience the earthquake. I had been on Kauai for a few days hanging out with my buddies Joey and Susan. I was leaving Sunday morning to return to Kona. I felt the earthquake (probably the largest one). I tried to call home but couldn’t get through on the land line and cell. So after about 45 minutes, I finally got through to Warren on his cell. When I heard his voice, I was so relieved. And that no tsunami was generated was even more of a relief. Warren said it was like a giant had picked up our house and just shook it from side to side violently. There was no warning. It just started with a growling sound and then the whole house just starting shaking. He was upstairs with Einstein. So he grabbed Einstein and watched as everything in the bathroom and bedroom started to flying out of the cabinets and drawers. One of the mirrors from our bed wall unit fell and good thing Warren had picked up Einstein or he would have been hurt. After the first one, Warren ran downstairs to check on Mom. She was a bit shaken, but okay. It was so violent that Warren couldn’t get downstairs and good thing he didn’t try or else he might have fallen down stairs and hurt himself. When the next one hit, Warren grabbed my Mom and Einstein and stayed under the door jam.
This is what Warren told me - The house was a mess – not an empty space to walk. The kitchen was a mess with cracked cups, dishes, spices, pantry items, etc. We have tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms. In the living room, Mom’s TV fell down (it still works), one of the bookcases fell and shattered a lamp and vase, some of the crystal glassware and figurines in the wall unit shattered. Most of the damages were in the kitchen and living room. We have stress cracks in the drywall, but it is mostly superficial. Our sidewalk that faces the hillside moved about an inch from the house. Our neighbors sustained some damages like the garage door fell on their cars and rocks walls that just crumbled. Some of the larger rocks on our hillside came rolling down, but didn’t damage anything. If you drive around, you won’t see too much damage on the outside – it is all inside the house. I just found out today that the fencing contractor who installed our fence lost his house. He lives in Kamuela (wet side) and his and three other homes slid off their foundations. His house was declared a total loss and will have to rebuild. Compared to this, our damages are so minute.

I spent 8 hours between Lihue and Honolulu airports. Lihue airport had power. Honolulu did not. So having spent about 5 hours in Honolulu with very minimal AC was not fun. I was fortunate that I bought water and food in Lihue because when I got to Honolulu, all the shops and restaurants were closed. People were calling me on the cell, and after a while I wasn’t answering. Sorry about that. I was trying to conserve my battery so I could keep in contact with Warren and let him know my status for I didn’t know how long I would be waiting. I finally landed in Kona about 5:00pm and arrived at home about 6:30pm. I was waiting for my bag and box, but of course they didn’t make it because we have several different flights on one plane. And this was the last flight to Kona that day. Good thing Joey vacuum packed the Lawai zuke and cucumber tsukemono and put them in a cool pack. Man, it would have been so stink! Hawaiian Air delivered my stuffs Monday around noon. Thanks again Sue and Joey for checking in on me from time to time.

So while I am doing my part in cleaning, mom is in Las Vegas. She left Monday evening and is returning tomorrow evening. Their flight was delayed on Monday – instead of leaving at 1:00pm, they left at 6:30pm. The group that was suppose to leaving on Sunday, left on Monday at 1:00pm. She had to fly into Honolulu first which was at 10:30am. So she and her buddies spent the next 7 hours hanging around at Honolulu International. They didn’t mind. They were so excited. She’s having a great time!

This earthquake was a wake-up call for our state and all of us about how we handle this type of situation. Communication is so important and being prepared. Living on the Big Island, you have to be prepared. We get power outages more frequently than Oahu. So we always have flashlights, batteries, propane lanterns and stove, hibachi, charcoal, small AM/FM battery radio, phone that hooks up to phone line (not the cordless type where you need electricity) and all “the list of items to have in case of hurricane and tsunamis”. We have a car battery charger that can power some small appliances. We try to make sure it is always charged. Thinking of getting a generator. We bought these crank type flashlights from Brookstone. They are really great and very bright. You crank for 30 seconds, and the light lasts for couple hours. There’s a couple different ones that cost between $25 to $50. Well worth the money.

So this is how we spent earthquake day – Sunday, October 15, 2006.
Hope all is well you. I know everyone experienced different levels of the quake and it was scary. This is something you wouldn’t want anyone to have to experience. I cannot comprehend the feeling. I know the ones I felt before are no where near what happened on Sunday. They say we will continue to get aftershocks for another month, and it should start to lessen. People here are still edgy every time we feel one.
Well wishes to all of you and keep safe. Sharon, Warren, Mom and Einstein

We will keep our Kohala Coast vistors updated. Stay safe for now. Aloha, Pua http://kohalacoastweb.blogspot.com/
For daily updates on earthquake, check West Hawaii Today online.

You will also find articles and stories on the Big Island Ironman Triathlon. Yes, it still takes place at this minute on the Kohala Coast on the Big Island. With more on that soon. Stay tuned!!!!

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