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27 February 2010

Tsunami and the Wild Tigris-Feb 27,2010

San Cristobal, Sat Feb 27th noon--

We were awoken at 6 a.m. to panic. Marine report had just may-dayed us that an 8.8 earthquake had hit Santiago, 1500 miles to our south east, and a titanic tsumani was expected to start radiated out towards us.

Our first non-coffee fueled thought was to head for the top of the volcano ridge, the highest point on the island. We slammed whatever we could grab into bags....but then, shaking off last nights local "Big Beers" and rum and tonics, we gathered some logic.

Amid wild reports of a 131 foot wave headed our way, calm caption Sean, cranked up the engine, and we fled out to sea. If we reached water deeper than 225 feet, theoretically the Tsunami wave should pass under us as a large powerful mass of water, rather than catching us like a giant surfboard and splintering us on shore.

The race was on.

As we headed out into the rougher seas, friends and family called in with the best news available; the radio reports periodically blasted the warnings that the entire coast of S. America was being evacuated, and Robinson Crusoe Island, far to our south, was bracing for destruction.

Amazingly, in this day of super speed info and technology, we could not get an accurate report of when our danger window would occur, and how potentially devastating the Tsunami would be. Incoming media reports were very discouraging and fear mongering.

With all of us and the crew on deck, surrounded by our water bags, and any immediate supplies that we thought would be useful, we waited, scanning the sea and not knowing really what an incoming tsunami wave would look like in the middle of an ocean.

Then after two plus hours of steaming out to sea, we received very welcome news--the 131 foot wave was now reduced to an 8 foot wave hitting Crusoe, the Equadorian Govt was lifting the Tsunami Warning, and Sugar had brought lots of chilled champagne!

So the moral of this story: Don't pop your cork when everything seems against you! Wait for the appropriate time!

Thanks to all who helped us by sending the best info available. It was pretty harrowing being 550 miles off the coast, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on board a "liferaft," and not knowing whether to fear for our lives and prepare for survival, or relax and realize that the danger was diminishing.