Monday, March 14, 2011

Borneo: The (non)Tsunami


My second day on the yacht, around 5 pm, Dave got a phone call saying there had been an 8.9 earthquake in Japan, and there was a tsunami warning in effect for Borneo. 

I called Vassily, a family friend, who is a tsunami specialist at NOAA, and with no preamble asked him what the best course of action was for us. I woke up him up in the middle of the night (15 hour time difference with Seattle) and because of the poor connection, I’m pretty sure all he heard was “I’m …yacht….Borneo…..tsunami…hotel?” He quickly figured out what was going on, and replied “run for the hotel, get as high as you can, don’t stay on the ship.” 

The hotel we took refuge in

Sarah and I climbed up onto the third floor, while Dave stoically decided he wasn’t going to abandon his ship. We watched the tide, waiting for any sign that the water was receding, until it was too dark to see. Four hours later, I called Vassily again, who was wide awake and at a meeting discussing the current events with his colleagues. He said that Malaysia would be spared a tsunami and that it was safe to return home. 

"Russell"--The 8-month-old Jack Russell Terrier that's a member of our sailing family

We decided to drink some beer on the terrace and celebrate the non-event.
The fruit in Malaysia is delicious.

Kudat, the fishing village where the shipyard is located, doesn't have much of anything. I'm slowly getting used to the heat and humidity......

Sarah hiding from the sun under the canopy
I'm trying to buy some sunglasses, because the glacier goggles I currently have look ridiculous when worn in this climate. I also had to stash my down sleeping bag rated to -30 below and my mountaineering mitts below deck-----not much need for them here. 

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