Tsunami Alert and what happens

Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been on the blog. I thought I would tell you a bit about what happens when we have a tsunami alert here. This was my first real one although the alarms are tested every month on the first Monday, so if you are in the Islands and hear them, keep that in mind.
I had a news flash on my phone that the tsunami alert had been triggered so I went downstairs since I live in a high rise building to verify. Fortunately for me, I live across the street from the end of the evacuation zone which includes all of Waikiki. In my case, that meant “vertical evacuation” since I live on a high floor.
The first thing to do is turn on the news and pay attention. For people who have to evacuate, it’s time to get out and not wait We had about an hour and half warning which is enough time. Supermarkets got jammed up as did gas stations, traffic snarled unbelievably. Shelters open immediately but they don’t supply food so you have to have a bag of food and medications, pet food, etc. if you are heading to a shelter.
For me, this was all pretty easy. My building sandbagged the lobby only because there is a canal behind the building which could in theory flood. I dug out flashlights and had them ready in every room in case of a power failure, filled up water in sinks, etc. and took the dog for a walk. Dogs don’t care about tsunamis, they still need to walk! And, I noticed everyone with a dog doing the same. While we went walking, I charged up anything that needed to be charged, like my phone.
People with small boats are asked to take them out on the ocean which is better than sitting in the marina. I could see lights out over the water at this point. About half an hour before the expected first wave, rescuers clear out of the evacuation zone so if you were counting on help once it hits, forget it. I saw the fire engines in my area heading away.After that, the roadblocks went up and it was eerie. Saturday night and no traffic on the streets at all. Back to sitting in front of the news, watching and waiting.
In my area, this was not bad at all which is a relief, but I did hear that on the Big Island, boats were on the sand, pushed in by the waves.
I think, compared, to the people bracing on the East Coast for Hurricane Sandy, we got off easy and we are all grateful.
I can say, since tsunami is a year round possibility here, people don’t panic and seen to know exactly what to do and do it. I also had phone calls from friends very early asking if they needed to come and get me to evacuate which was very thoughtful of them.
I felt complete confidence in the tsunami plan and how things work although I’d still rather not find out what a really bad one is like.

Going To The Dogs Hawaiian Style

This is mostly for dog lovers but not exclusively. My dog finally arrived in Hawaii yesterday. Yes, you can bring a pet into Hawaii without quarantine but it is a lengthy process with a lot of paperwork and you have to do a lot of forward planning, so he’s been spending time with my family in Florida. I guess he went on vacation . Anyway, the big day arrived, and owners are instructed to go to the Airport Quarantine facility, do the final paperwork which they check. (You have obviously checked that your dog is on the booked flight before arriving) so you sit in a waiting room with all the other anxious owners who spend their time showing photos of their pets on the cell phones, etc. As the flights come in, they start to announce “Here Comes Ginger” (or Daisy or whoever) and there is a big cheer, some jumping up and down, and out rolls the crate with the Ginger (or Daisy, etc.). This is the really funny part—a lot of the owners were there with leis to greet their pets, one even had a dog biscuit and floral lei she found in Waikiki. You had to be there to see and believe this.
Anyway, they roll the crate right out to the car, (no uncrating in the airport anywhere) and off you go. My dog came through fine, a little confused, but he’s traveled before and we got home and straight to the dog park in my building which is pretty handy. Quarantine also informed me that if I want to travel with him to another Hawaiian island, it’s fine, I book a seat for him on the flight–can you believe that?–not that I am planning to do that but I guess good to know, and now that my dog is officially a canine resident of Hawaii, he can go to the Mainland and come back without another fuss if he doesn’t stay too long.
This was really an experience and I guess timed quite well with the release of Going To The Dogs from MuseItUpPublishing

Is is any wonder I’m going to the dogs too???


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Ala Moana and snow in Hawaii–are you kidding me?

ICopyright: Elle Druskin
‘m still in Honolulu and it’s a beautiful day, 75–86 and very comfortable with the trade winds, not hot at all, just pleasant. There has been some rain this week, but as my Mom would say, so what? It isn’t snow and you don’t have to shovel it, it’s only water. That’s pretty true. And yet, surprisingly, on the Big Island, there are predictions of some snow at the highest elevations. Snow in Hawaii–go figure.

Ala Moana was meant to be the entry for this week and it is a lovely beach. Ala Moana is technically not Waikiki, it’s the next neighborhood over on the west although still plenty of hotels and touristy things. It has the huge Ala Moana shopping center which has a lot of very “upmarket” stores if that is your thing.
Ala Moana also has a lovely beach and park where you are likely to find families because the swimming, surfing and body boarding is pretty good. It is known as a family beach because of the park with lots of grass and shade for picnics and barbecues.
One of the bonuses of Ala Moana is that it has a lot of free parking if you are coming with a car. If not The Bus is very convenient in Honolulu–it’s efficient and runs frequently, the fare is $2.50 for an adult anywhere on the route.
You should be aware that there are undercurrents at times here, I have been caught in one and the best thing to do is go with it, don’t try to fight it, until you get to a point where you can swim out of it, or signal with an arm up to the lifeguards to come and get you out of it.
There are also coral rocks and they can really cut your feet or legs if you land on them. The solution might be what I use, a reef walker kind of shoe which you can find in sports shops. Before you buy, ask if it is suitable for surfing because a lot of them are. That’s assuming you might want to use them for surfing too. Prices vary from $60–$100 depending on what you want so make sure you take your time picking out the right shoe for you at the right price.
I might be avoiding Ala Moana this weekend–for starters, there was a fire in the food court of the shopping center two days ago. Nobody was hurt and the fire was extinguished very quickly but the smoke has affected some of the stores, not many, but some and they may not be able to open for another day or so.
The second and bigger problem is APEC which is starting here next week and using facilities in the Ala Moana area. Roads are being closed, people with businesses on these streets are wondering what to do–open or not. Nobody really knows what to expect but part of Ala Moana Park is being closed and as much as I like this beach, I think I am going to give it a miss for the next few days. It’s not like there’s a lack of beaches here.
The swells in the surf are slowing getting bigger, but the really big ones won’t arrive here for another month when the big surfing tournaments will start on the North Shore. The South Shore, which is Waikiki, has much smaller swells at that time so if you want to avoid the big water, stick to the south.
I’m heading out to some beach, no idea which yet but will be back with a report.