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Clayton couple rides out tsunami on cruise ship

Posted March 7, 2010
Updated March 8, 2010

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— A tsunami spawned by a magnitude-8.8 earthquake in Chile sent waves barreling north across the Pacific on Saturday, Feb. 27.

Clayton couple encounters tsunami in Hawaii Clayton couple encounters tsunami in Hawaii

By the time the tsunami hit Hawaii – a full 16 hours after the quake – officials had already spent the morning ringing emergency sirens, blaring warnings from airplanes and ordering residents to higher ground.

Joe Young and his wife were stuck on a cruise ship off the coast of Hawaii during the tsunami warning. The Clayton couple said Sunday that they were enjoying their seven-day cruise until the tsunami announcement was made.

"The PA (public address) system said, 'We're holding out in the sea because there is a serious tsunami warning for Hawaii, and the Coast Guard is not allowing anyone into port,” Young recalled.

The tsunami caused a series of ocean surges in Hawaii that were about 20 minutes apart, and the waves arrived later and were smaller than originally predicted. The highest wave at Hilo measured 5.5 feet high, while Maui saw some as high as 2 meters.

"Having been in some pretty heavy storms, typhoons while in the Navy, I knew that some of those (waves) could be pretty rough. But I also knew that we were on a ship big enough that we shouldn't have much trouble,” Young said.

There was no widespread damage reported from the tsunami, and the islands were soon back to paradise by Saturday afternoon.

Young said after the cruise ship docked in Hawaii, he bought a "Tsunami Survivor" T-shirt to remember the experience.

12 Comments

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  • Pseudonym Mar 8, 2010

    Quote from momtobe: "you know some of these comments, just spell one word and it is as follows: J-E-A-L-O-U-S. I doubt either ever served your country or has taken a cruise and most of all I doubt you would even ride a surf board."

    Could it possibly be that they prefer to use their brains and think about the science of tsunamis rather than being wimpy emotional drama queens about it? If someone reacts poorly to a non-issue, how will they react when the REAL big one hits?

  • TomLynda Mar 8, 2010

    Grandpeople:

    You got that right. A rogue wave is the one to fear while at sea. Often no warning of a rogue wave.

    I lived in Hawaii for three years (courtesty the US Army), and the surfers there live for big waves.

  • Grandpeople Mar 8, 2010

    Who cares - they had the experience and everyone is happy. I am just thankful I wasn't on the ship hit by the 60 foot wave near Greece. That would be scary.

  • TomLynda Mar 8, 2010

    Oh, and by the way. I don't think he even felt the Tsunami when the waves came under the ship.

  • TomLynda Mar 8, 2010

    "you know some of these comments, just spell one word and it is as follows: J-E-A-L-O-U-S. I doubt either ever served your country or has taken a cruise and most of all I doubt you would even ride a surf board..Hey Joe, glad you arrived home safe
    momtobe"

    You couldn't be more wrong. I served my country during the Vietnam era, and back then the US Navy transported the troops, up until around the mid 60's. So I've been on several Navy ships, have taken cruises, my brother was in the Navy, so I know a tad bit about sea life.

    Do so research on just what a Tsunami is and maybe you'll learn a little bit about them. Not what Hollywood puts out at all.

  • UNCfuturealumi Mar 8, 2010

    you know some of these comments, just spell one word and it is as follows: J-E-A-L-O-U-S. I doubt either ever served your country or has taken a cruise and most of all I doubt you would even ride a surf board..Hey Joe, glad you arrived home safe

  • dwarner3 Mar 8, 2010

    With waves that small, the surfers didn't even bother to get out

  • TomLynda Mar 8, 2010

    Proud2BUS Citizen:

    I'm with you on that comment.

    On a boat out to sea is the safest place to be in a Tsunami. It's not like the disaster movies at all. At sea those things are only a few inches high. It's when it approaches a shore that all that engery gets compressed into high, damaging waves.

    Even during the Tsunami of Dec 26, 2004, we had reports from people who survived it. They were out at sea suba diving when it passed them. They felt it and knew something was wrong, just didn't have any idea of how bad until they went back to shore.

  • Proud2BUS Citizen Mar 8, 2010

    It would have been nice to have seen the measurement kept to either standard or metric and not mixed.

    "The highest wave at Hilo measured 5.5 feet high, while Maui saw some as high as 2 meters."

    5.5 Feet is about 1.68 meters while 2 meters is about 6.5 Feet

  • cousineddie2014 Mar 8, 2010

    Love the cowboy hat that the lady's wearing in the picture!

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