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Old 06-02-2013, 12:06   #1
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Offshore Tsunami Experience

In light of yesterday's news about a tsunami hitting the Solomon Islands, I am curious if anybody on these forums had an actual real-life experience with a tsunami waves in the middle of the ocean. It would be great to share those here. Thanks!
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:17   #2
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

In deep ocean waters you'll never know one has passed under. Only start to worry when the water is less than a 1000' or near shore. Could be a problem if you was right on top of the earthquake during a plate lift. But I would rather worry about something worse, like running out of rum on a long passage. I have alway's went to sea during a tsunami warning. Alaska' and Japan tsnami's, 3 altogether, but can't remember the other one....Michael..

Might have been Chile........
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Old 06-02-2013, 12:39   #3
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

The wave is just energy offshore, so like rubyjean said, ya don't really notice the monster that a is running beneath you. I've always wondered if being in the vicinity of the actual quake, the huge displacement of water, what the ocean must look like. I have seen some odd stuff, but that must be one for the books...

We need an oceanographer or ocean Seismologist? geologist?
E
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:02   #4
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

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Originally Posted by rubyjean View Post
In deep ocean waters you'll never know one has passed under. Only start to worry when the water is less than a 1000' or near shore. Could be a problem if you was right on top of the earthquake during a plate lift. But I would rather worry about something worse, like running out of rum on a long passage. I have alway's went to sea during a tsunami warning. Alaska' and Japan tsnami's, 3 altogether, but can't remember the other one....Michael..

Might have been Chile........
I'm tied up @ the West Basin Marina in Astoria and have been mulling over the options if a 9.0 hits offshore OR.

1. Head for the hills. Good elevation only a couple of hundreds yds away. But the hills may be sliding...probably will be...the bridges will come down, the roads will buckle. No cellular. No water. No power.

2. I subscribe to NOAA tsunami email alerts. If given enough warning on a long distance event heading this way, I could get to the mouth of the Columbia in about 45 mins to get offshore. I would then have water and food at least.

3. A lot of ifs-ands-and-buts here...get out to the middle of the river, put down 250ft of chain, survival suit on, clip in...hoping not to pitchpole. Would need a bit of warning, longer than 15 mins, and hopefully have the info regarding time of arrival and wave height.

I dunno...I may be dreaming about all of the above.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:18   #5
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

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Originally Posted by svtatoosh View Post
I'm tied up @ the West Basin Marina in Astoria and have been mulling over the options if a 9.0 hits offshore OR.

1. Head for the hills. Good elevation only a couple of hundreds yds away. But the hills may be sliding...probably will be...the bridges will come down, the roads will buckle. No cellular. No water. No power.

2. I subscribe to NOAA tsunami email alerts. If given enough warning on a long distance event heading this way, I could get to the mouth of the Columbia in about 45 mins to get offshore. I would then have water and food at least.

3. A lot of ifs-ands-and-buts here...get out to the middle of the river, put down 250ft of chain, survival suit on, clip in...hoping not to pitchpole. Would need a bit of warning, longer than 15 mins, and hopefully have the info regarding time of arrival and wave height.

I dunno...I may be dreaming about all of the above.
I have experence w/ the Columbia river there at Astoria. If your in the River, you would have a big problem with a big tsanami. Takes to long to get accross the bar to deep water, I think I would run for the hills and forget the boat. If on the boat in the river I wouldn't drop the anchor, might be better off letting the water push the boat. Still not a good vibe there. Michael..
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:30   #6
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

I believe it was around 1963 when a major quake hit the Anchorage, Alaska area, long before an early warning system was set up on the west coast. I was aboard a salmon troller off the Swiftsure Bank out of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island and recall very well a series of hugh swells that were quite above the normal. The troughs were so deep we completely lost sight of fairly large vessels within 1/2 mile of us and the roll even with our 'flopper stopper' system buried each gunnel and swamped the gurdie station aft.
It wasn't until later that we found out the true impact of the tsunami waves that bore up the Alberni Canal, took out the McMillan Blodel Pulp Mill dock, the commercial marina and set down trollers and gillnetters nearly a block inland. The Alberni Canal is a long inlet almost cutting Vancouver Island in half at the head of Barclay Sound and the steep sides of the canal left the water no where to go except higher and at an increasing rate of flood. There was some loss of life although my memory doesn't serve me too well. I know the damage in Anchorage was severe.
As I recall, the Swiftsure Bank is a couple of hundred fathoms deep but it was sufficient to really set up some big rollers. Nearer the entrance to Barclay Sound is a small village called Bamfield that took a real hit as well.
That was 50 or so years ago and I still remember wondering what caused it until about an hour after the event when the radio chatter was filled with damage reports from ashore. Not something I would look forward to living through again! Phil
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:30   #7
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

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Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
I've always wondered if being in the vicinity of the actual quake, the huge displacement of water, what the ocean must look like. I have seen some odd stuff, but that must be one for the books...
The big ones like in Japan or Indian Ocean, I would imagine there may be a whirl pool effect at the surface. If there were any sailors off shore of Japan, those would be the ones to ask.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:38   #8
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

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Originally Posted by Ocean Girl View Post
The wave is just energy offshore, so like rubyjean said, ya don't really notice the monster that a is running beneath you. I've always wondered if being in the vicinity of the actual quake, the huge displacement of water, what the ocean must look like. I have seen some odd stuff, but that must be one for the books...

We need an oceanographer or ocean Seismologist? geologist?
E
Ocean Girl, funny story on this subject. 2010 I was sailing solo from Everett, Wa. to Coos Bay and off Cape Elizabeth Wa. about 2200 hours the Ocean boiled around me as far as I could see {clear night w/good moon}. Two weeks prior I had watched a program on Nat Geo about the plate off Juan De Fuca. In the story it told about the possibilty of a 10 earth quake w/ this plate. Long story short, I nearly soiled my weather gear">foul weather gear for a moment. Then bait fish started landing in the cockpit, this had to be the largest bait ball in the world, I had sailed through a huge school of tuna.
I for one will never forget that moment, for it was the most terrified I have ever been in the ocean. The terrified part only lasted for less than one minute. The ocean boiled for at least five minutes... It's a wonderful life on the deep blue... Michael..
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:16   #9
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

When you get a tsunami warning, you should head out to deep water and it will just be just a small wave going under your boat, even just a ˝ mile from shore.

When in the harbor and your boat turns quickly and points to shore and you see sudden current going past you that is not normal, then start the engine and pull up the anchor fast as you can and get out of the harbor at full throttle. This is how you save the boat and crew.

You will be able to watch at a safe distance a few miles off shore and come back in the harbor to save people in the water as they get pulled out to sea.

If you’re not fast enough to pickup anchor and the harbor empties out leaving your boat in the dirt. Get out and run to higher ground and yell to everyone you pass to do the same as many will not know what is going on.
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Old 07-02-2013, 14:58   #10
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

So, it looks that far offshore, there is nothing really to worry about (still not sure though). I understand that depending on the shape of the ocean floor and depth, at some proximity to the land, the wave will take its shape and speed. Any such experiences? There were some really scary aerial videos from the Japanese tsunami with the wave visible at least a mile or more from the shore which actually prompted me to ask this question.

Cheers!
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Old 07-02-2013, 15:04   #11
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

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Originally Posted by Invictus69 View Post
So, it looks that far offshore, there is nothing really to worry about (still not sure though). I understand that depending on the shape of the ocean floor and depth, at some proximity to the land, the wave will take its shape and speed. Any such experiences? There were some really scary aerial videos from the Japanese tsunami with the wave visible at least a mile or more from the shore which actually prompted me to ask this question.

Cheers!
A rule I alway's keep is that you never sail over a sea mount. These can be a problem, deep ocean currents can cause these area's to be pretty rough, let alone an approching tsunami. I alway's feel pretty safe in deep water...... Michael..

Ps. Like I said, 1000' of water and your ok. Oregon, 1000' can be just 2-4 miles offshore...
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Old 07-02-2013, 20:58   #12
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

Japanese Coast Guard vessel going over tsunami wave inshore:

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Old 07-02-2013, 21:15   #13
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

I was a 1/2 mile or less offshore when the wave(s) that did a lot of damage in Kailua-Kona and washed a house or two into the Bay at Kealakekua after the Japan Quake. Didn't even feel it. The extreme surge in Honokohau, the local marina, lasted for at least 12 hours.
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Old 08-02-2013, 00:49   #14
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Re: Offshore tsunami experience

Here is a link to a thread with some interesting info:
Tsunami- Head Out To Sea?

In there is a link to a very moving first hand account:
Living & Learning Aboard the Good Ship Learnativity: Doing the Tsunami Tango in American Samoa: Part I

As others have said, in deep water you wont even notice, even if directly above the earthquake - unless it is a dead calm day with no swell. If you have time, and if you are not already on the boat then you probably wont have enough time so stay away from the water, getting into water depth that is even 3 or 4 times your mooring depth will be beneficial for wave heights. But currents, funneled surges could still be an issue.
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Old 08-02-2013, 05:34   #15
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Originally Posted by delmarrey View Post

The big ones like in Japan or Indian Ocean, I would imagine there may be a whirl pool effect at the surface. If there were any sailors off shore of Japan, those would be the ones to ask.
If you search on YouTube you will find a video of the swells generated by the Japanese tsunami as experienced by large fishing boat. Looked to be three largish swells but not threatening.
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