Rumblings in the Night
All was still and quiet before the earthquake hit at 12:30 am. The best way for us to deal with it was to stay in bed and experience the moment. It went on long enough for us to wonder if it was going to build in intensity, which prompted one of us to reach over and grab a headlamp. At least we'd be able to find pants if the proverbial mess hit the fan.
When the shaking of the house and terra-not-firma stopped, we fired up the internet to find we were under a tsunami warning. The 7.9 quake happened only 175 miles southeast of Kodiak and the first wave arrival was potentially going to hit Kodiak by or before 1:45 am.
Being that our house is up on a decently high piece of ground, we weren't too worried for our safety, but listening in the dark for a change in the lapping waves or the roar of a powerful oncoming tsunami is a unique experience. Will life be the same after this event, and most importantly, are our friends and family across Kodiak safe? Knowing that the tsunami warning sirens were going off in the city of Kodiak and that our neighbors out here in the wilderness were communicating via VHF, we felt relatively sure that our people were ok – we had enough warning time to be confident those who needed to move would.
Our minds wandered to the many thousands of dollars worth of boats, fishing gear, etc that would be severely disrupted by a wave greater than 5 feet. You may not have any idea how carefully we put away our nets for the winter, swaddled in the ubiquitous blue tarps. If we take umbrage at one blade of grass or kelp in the web during fishing time, imagine nets being tumbled in debris-filled waves. It leaves one to consider priorities in a new light.
In the end, we didn't get a good quick beach-combing session in with a drastically falling tide. The nets remained tucked in their frozen blue cocoons, waiting to be unfurled in warm spring sunshine, and the boats are happy not to be further away from the ocean then they already are. All that stuff is replaceable, though not easily. More importantly, everyone made it through just fine with life being painted into perspective: tiny little us on this wild and wooly land called Alaska getting shaken like bugs on a tray, or maybe we’re even smaller…..amoebas?