Thursday, March 4, 2010

Photo Nightmare, Drama

I'm just now getting ready to leave Hilo after about a week on the Big Island. Most of my travels here have been very positive, with some huge exemptions. One day after arriving here, the big earthquake hit in Chile, and we were evacuated for the pending huge tsunami. Much of Hilo was wiped out by previous tsunamis, and they take it very seriously here if there is a large earthquake that might inundate the town. I was staying in a mixed (co-ed) dorm at a hostel here in Hilo when the tsunami sirens begun to wail. It was about 5:30 in the morning. A dorm-sharer got a phone call from the states that there was a huge earthquake in Chile, and there would be huge tidal waves. Shortly after that call, loud tsunami sirens went off in Hilo. I dragged out of bed and went to my rent-a-car. I drove to a spot about a hundred feet above sea level, and just waited in the car until the authorities gave the all-clear about 1:00PM. There was no tsunami at Hilo, but such a huge earthquake in Chile could have easily taken Hilo off the map if conditions were right. People were scared. I was disoriented, being awakened so early in the morning, and misplaced my main rain shell that I had been using. It wasn't particularly raining the day of the "tsunami", but I probably took it with me, just in case. We had good weather for a few days, and it wasn't until two days after the "tsunami" that I realized that I no longer had posession of my trusty jacket. Turns out I had put the SD card out of my camera in the jacket pocket, and hadn't gotten around to backing up those pictures to my laptop or hard drive.

Now, the jacket is gone, and all record of my vacation, including leaving the ice and the work I did there, is gone. I have pictures of working on the icebreaker, the fuel tanker, and the container ship, all gone. Tasmania: gone. New Zealand: yep. I guess I've learned my lesson, but it was a painful one.

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