2010 BentProp Progress Report # 10

P-MAN XII Progress Report #10 - There's the tsunami! No, wait - maybe THAT's it...
28 February 2010

By now you've heard about the tsunami in the Pacific due to the earthquake in Chile. Too bad we're in the Pacific at the moment.

We heard about this last night before we went to pick up Warren. Since we are all team players, and decision makers, we obviously had to come up with a plan.

On the way back from the airport, we picked up more water, packed "go bags", collected our non-perishable foods, found an easy way to high ground and decided not to cancel our pancake breakfast.

Both on our end, and from folks in CONUS, we have been tracking this event. Last night, it was going to be a big deal. Today as I write, it seems to have petered out. However, we are not going to take this tsunami warning lightly. With Joe's advice, we're staying off the water until after the event. It is supposed to hit Palau at 1315 local time. At 1245, we're heading up Malakal Hill to have lunch at a nice viewing area. So if something is going to happen, we'll get to watch and stay dry. I am taking my camera, and my passport, so I can capture whatever happens on digits.

We just heard that Hawaii canceled their warning a bit ago due to small waves and no damage. It was reported that only 2.2 foot waves reached the Cook Islands. All the dive boats here in Palau have gone to work and the Taiwanese fishing vessels are still pierside and not making any smoke. So, we're working with all the SSS equipment, I'm getting an update out, Joe is watching TV and Warren is trying to figure out if he got promoted or not. The Marine Corps website is down.

As to breakfast. a few years ago Dan O'Brien started a BentProp-in-Palau tradition of pancakes on Sundays. This year, it is the First Annual Tsunami Pancake Breakfast: blueberry pancakes, real bacon extra crispy, and REAL maple syrup. Yum. We had Dave and Margie as guests. They are of Bandidos fame (Mexican restaurant that closed its doors last year). We got caught up with them about the goings on within the expat community.

So, in a few hours, we'll have our picnic, then head out for more side-scan sonar work.

----------- Later -------------

It’s still the 28th, the tsunami didn’t happen in Palau, and we got some side-scan sonar time today.

Before we took a break, we had just finished breakfast and were waiting to move up the hill for tsunami time. About an hour prior, the tsunami warning was lifted for Belau (that’s the real spelling of Palau.). The only parts of the Pacific that still had the warning were Russia and Japan.

We debated what to do, and decided to stick with our plan. The reason: what if the forecasters were wrong? And what if Palau channels the water energy differently? Better safe than sorry.

Tsunami energy travels around the world, irrespective of wave height. We were hoping to see something on the ocean surface to show us that it had come to Palau. So high ground was a great idea. Then we found an ideal spot that afforded us a grand view.

The high point.

There's the tsunami! No, wait - maybe that's it, over there! No, wait...

We had lunch on top of the water tank and the only thing that let us know that the tsunami had passed was a rooster crowed in the middle of the day. Not even a ripple. A small part of each of us hoped to see a big receding of water. Maybe that would have uncovered an airplane.

We waited 15 minutes past the original warning time, climbed down and drove to the boat. We would get at least a few hours of SSS work in.

Getting the SSS tow-cable weight ready.

Flip and Mike manning the cable.

Mike and Warren manning the cable.

Joe and Paul, helmsman and navigator.

We found a few interesting returns and we hope to dive on them in a day or three. Tomorrow is a land day in the jungle and on March 2nd we are heading to Peleliu for a promotion ceremony. But for that, you’ll have to tune in later.

Gratuitous photos of team members:

Rick Smith and daughter Nicole

Warren Bruce

el Jefe - Pat Scannon

Mike Raible

Jack Herbert

Paul Schwimmer, in all his bearded glory

We are all pretty tired. Not doing much physical activity while waiting for a natural disaster to strike takes it out of you. Of course not having a natural disaster strike makes it easier to leave the country when the time comes.

So that’s our story of how we survived the tsunami of 2010 in Palau.

- Flip

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