Saturday, March 19, 2011

Riding the Waves

by Pa Rock
Citizen Journalist

My friend Valerie and I just spent a half-a-day at sea whale-watching.  It was a beautiful day, and the whales were plentiful and playful.  (Photos at

We tried to get our friend Nefredia to go with us, but our tough-as-nails friend, who grew up on the mean streets of New York City and has experience dealing with some of the worst of the worst, wasn't having it.  She said that she doesn't fear what she can control, like crack whores and street thugs, but she wasn't about to put herself in the path of something that she could not control - like a tsunami!

Two weeks ago nobody here gave a second thought to tsunamis - they were little more than something that happened in disaster movies or the third world.  But now, of course, they are on everyone's mind.  In preparation for this trip out onto the high seas, I did a little research.

First of all, I thought if a tsunami happened along, I would rather be at sea where I could ride the wave instead of driving down the Okinawan coast where I could be washed out to sea in a leaky Nissan Cube.  I'm not a physicist (or a sailor), but that just made sense.  What I learned after talking to people who knew about tsunamis was that I was exactly right!  (Sooner or later it had to happen!)

It turns out that was the reason that all of those ships and large boats were lined up on the horizon the night we were anticipating a possible tsunami.  The vessels stood far more chance of being wrecked or torn up if they were in port than if they were out at sea.  A tsunami is just a really big wave, and most ships actually will ride the wave.  Tsunamis do their real damage when they hit the shore, rush onto land, and then rush back out to sea.  It is all of that property that was never meant to ride waves that gets damaged - like my Nissan Cube - and all of the people who get banged around with the property and then washed out to sea.

The tsunami last week sped across the ocean from Japan to Oregon and California.  Were there any reports of ships capsizing or being lost at sea?  I didn't hear of any.  Surely many must have encountered that swell that played hell with the vessels in some harbors along the U.S. coast.  They met the challenge and rode it out!

No comments: