Tsunami spares Waikiki

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the siren sounded in Kakaako, Honolulu police went tent to tent on Ilalo street, telling the homeless to move to higher ground.

James Woefel was one of them.

"Basically, they just came through and they told us that we needed to get outta here - evacuate the area," he said.

Farther down Ala Moana boulevard, patrol cars circled the Hilton lagoon. Over at Ala Wai harbor, boat owner Kate Johnson didn't need any prompting to pack belongings and leave her boat behind.

"We're just packing up our computers, papers, passports, a couple of our favorite boards and a sail from our other boat," she said.

In Waikiki guests in the Moana Surfrider crossed Kalakaua Avenue to the taller Princess Kaiulani Hotel.

"I was down here for the last one and we were lucky enough," Kiki Hamilton said. "This one, you watch the news and you see what's going on in Japan and it's very scary. They're saying it's imminent. I got goose bumps just talking about it."

Lots of people stayed awake to the time the tsunami was to arrive. They watched from windows and balconies. A distressing site was a small group on the seawall that ignored the Honolulu Fire Department's urging to evacuate.

"Unfortunately, people have their own agendas. They want to be heroes. They want to try to capture the images," Waikiki resident Bradley Duvall said.

On the stretch of shoreline across from the Aston Waikiki Circle there was a visible surge.

When it pulled back it left water marks in the sand.

The back and forth lasted for some time.

Farther out boats bobbed on the horizon like stars on the sea.

When it finally went calm, people reappeared on the street relieved.

"It makes me feel real good. We can finish this vacation. We were kind of worried that maybe it would be really bad and close down the airport or something and we wouldn't be able to fly to Maui tomorrow or something," Texas visitor Dallas Canada said..

"I didn't feel that I was in any danger at all. I think things are going to work out like they're supposed to," Jeff Kingstedt said.

Just like last year's tsunami scare, Waikiki was spared again.

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