The Hawaii “Tsunami” Travel Blog


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     After a lengthy, turbulent plane ride, I was overjoyed to finally be on the ground. The tropical sea breeze and sunlight ameliorated my mood drastically. The flight had stolen any chances of rest, so my family and I checked into our hotel and immediately fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves right outside our window. I was anticipating sleeping in; Mother Nature had other plans. Early in the morning my parents got a call from relatives; there was an earthquake in Chile and a predicted tsunami heading toward Hawaii. We stumbled out of bed and into our car, heading away from the coast. My mom was on the verge of tears and I became frightened as well.

     Thirty minutes, then an hour passed. A nervous silence permeated the car. We finally came to a stop at Mauna Kea Volcano National Park. Upon our arrival, many groups of people were already standing around. Some were staring out at horizon while others kept their eyes locked on a TV screen that was documenting the waves coming in. My family and I stood watching until a ripple of speech passed through the audience. My dad turned and explained, “The predicted tsunami is coming.” I shifted nervously, keeping my focus on the T.V. Then I heard someone say, “there it is.” I expected to see a massive wave curl up onto the beach, and instead caught a glimpse of a five foot wave lap onto the shore. Questioningly, I looked up to my parents, but they looked just as astonished. Then people began to laugh. “Some tsunami!” They slowly filed out of the building. I turned to my dad to ensure that it was, in fact, the tsunami. His reassuring smile answered my question. I joined the chorus of laughs as it took flight from the top of the volcano, taunting the ocean.

     Now our vacation could truly begin. The next day, a guide took us snorkeling above a coral reef. Pulling my flippers on, I stumbled to the edge of the boat and gazed down at the turquoise water. My mom smiled nervously at me. “Be careful! There could be sharks down there.” Laughing, I rolled my eyes and jumped in. The temperature was perfect. I swam along the surface of the water, staring down into the beauty below. Various schools of fish cautiously sailed by, their beautiful coloring reflecting the sunlight. I felt like I was in a movie. Two turtles emerged from the reef and I gasped, then choked on a mouthful of water. After catching my breath above the surface, I inhaled deeply and went under. The turtles were carelessly swimming away from the reef, so I followed them. I glided through the water with ease, my flippers propelling me. I lost my sense of time and dimension, drifting along with the turtles.

     Snapping back into reality, I realized that I was no longer near the reef. My stomach twisted into knots and I quickly turned the other direction. Taking in another breath of air, I sunk under the water and looked around. Vast stretches of blue surrounded me, and there were no other fish around. I panicked and paddled in the direction of the reef. A shape emerged from the blue horizon, and I exhaled in relief. As I dove back under the water, an eel slithered past my legs. Another emerged from the coral and they both moved through the water effortlessly, eyeing me suspiciously. For the second time in two days, I thought I was going to die, but I eventually made it back to the boat. People were gathered around on the deck, talking about their experiences. A group of girls had swam with manta rays, while others had seen a baby shark. My mom climbed out of the water dripping, but her eyes were glowing. “How did you like that?” she questioned. I smiled back; words failed to describe my escapade. The ocean was indeed full of surprises.

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