Liberty is being free from the things we don't like in order to be slaves of the things we do like.--Ernest Benn

Friday, March 11, 2011

Waiting for the Tsunami

0645 hrs: 

Japan's Tsunami's surge is expected here in a bout 90 minutes. There will be a crowd down at the Harbor which, I have to confess, I will join. Only because it's a community event, you understand...

News at 11:

Like I said, it was a community event. I won't post photos I took of the (up to 50) small craft that played it safe by powering out to 500 yards off shore, or the people who crossed the barricades to get to the breakwater so they could witness and photograph any rise in sea level. Not worth the extra column inches.

At exactly 0817 hrs no change was evident in the surf and we went home. After we left, things began to happen. Janer, writing in Sailing Anarchy, gives an accurate account:

The tsunami effects in Santa Barbara were far worse than expected . . . . The Cal Cup Melges 24's and RC boats were leaving the harbor when the first surges hit, 4 to 5 feet up and 10 minutes later down by 4 to 5 feet. The bait barge just outside the marinas split in half and sank. At that point they closed the harbor trapping myself (photo boat) and two of the Melges inside the harbor. The surges actually got worse over the day. Racers who got out had a tough day with swells and huge wind shifts and sadly they only got one race off around 3:30 and then had to deal with getting back in the harbor along with commercial fishermen etc. who were staged off the harbor entrance to time the surges and come in one at a time on the flood with lots of Harbor Patrol and tug boats controlling the situation. Entrance buoys were literally sucked underwater. It was an awesome event to witness, but of course our hearts go out to Japan and the massive destruction there.
Ditto on that last, of course. One Melges team from Scandinavia was thus locked out of the first of three days of racing. Compared to the entire Japanese nation, their inconvenience didn't amount to much.

At around 14:00 hrs, I took my noon walk through the harbor. At the end of Marina One, closest to the harbor entrance, the yachts tied fast & securely in their slips appeared to be moving 4 knots over the water; 20 or so minutes later, they appeared to be going in reverse about the same speed. The docks themselves were leaving a wake.

Here's some commercial footage:

The real thing was fascinating to watch. And humbling.

The Red Cross is accepting donations for Japanese disaster relief.


  1. Damaged a bait boat!!!!! CALL FREAKING FEMA!

    Americans are wussies.

  2. The Red Cross may accept donations, but perhaps not spend them here (Japan). Not that the American Red Cross isn't a worthy charity - I think it most certainly is.

    But for readers considering donating to help Japan recover from this disaster, please check out the article at Charity Navigator which has advice on making the decision to donate, how to avoid scams, and a list of rated charities who will spend your donation on the Japan disaster:
    Japan Earthquake and Tsunami.

    Thanks, Doc!

  3. Thank you, Panda! I followed the link, but it disappointed me. I wanted to be told which relief agency is the agency to go with.

  4. For Japan Earthquake and Tsunami relief, I still go with the American Red Cross. You can donate here for Japan. Minimum donation is $10.