Water And Oceanography

Being Aware of the Danger of the Sea



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"Being Aware of the Danger of the Sea"
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"I found a house for us!" My husband, Bob, shouted excitedly into the phone. He was in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii. Because his rank was not enough to warrant a house on the base, he had found one where we would live with the 'locals'.

I had been staying with his parents in California, waiting for his call.

"What clothing should I bring?" I asked excitedly.

"Just a swim suit!" He answered with a laugh.

I got my ticket the next day and I was on my way to Hawaii. I didn't care what the house looked like, it had been three long months, and we missed each other terribly since we'd only been married four months.

He met me at the airport and our landlord, who lived next door to us, came with him. I liked him immediately. He was a civil engineer at the base where Bob was stationed and that is how they met.

Oh, how beautiful the drive along the coastline was. We lived approximately seventeen miles from Honolulu and the complete drive was coastline.

Our house was just lovely. There were all kinds of fruit trees and tropical plants. It was completely furnished and the landlord included our utilities with the rent, which was only a drop in the bucket. I think he had an inkling we didn't make much money. However, the house was built on stilts of a sort, making it high up from the ground. I wondered about this but, lost in my husband, forgot it for a while.

We lived less than a mile from the beach so the next day, that's where we headed. We were the only people there and from then on, that beach was our private beach. Sometimes, when he was at the base, I would go by myself and find that I was the only one there.

There were huge rocks on the beach. One day, Bob and I were standing on one of these rocks when an unsuspecting huge wave caught us. Had he not grabbed me and held tight, I would have been shark meat.

At night, I could hear the waves crashing and at first, when I was alone, (Bob had three day stints at the base) I would be afraid. Then, in time, I got used to it and wasn't bothered as much by them.

One night, a jeep filled with young men, came driving past the homes. "Surf's up! Surf's up!" they screamed as they speeded down the street.

Our landlord, Lennie, came running. There had been an earthquake in the Aleutian Islands and a tidal wave was predicted for our area. We had to evacuate to the mountains. So, that was the reason the houses were built so high off the ground. Thankfully, the wave did not hit and we went back home.

I guess Lennie felt it safe to tell me this story for he knew how upset I had become: Some years back, a huge tidal wave had hit the area. When it was over, many of the locals ran to the beach to pick up fish or other seafood the tide had swept up. They were still loading their baskets, when an even huger wave hit and washed them all out to sea.

The sea - the unpredictable sea. I love it and will always remember spending time with or without friends on that very same beach. Oh, the fun we had. The guys had procured tubings from airplane tires which they'd had filled with air. We took those to the beach and when a huge wave hit, we'd toss the tire, jump on it and come crashing to the ground. I still don't understand to this day, why none of us ended up with broken bones - some of those waves were at least twenty feet high.

Watching a submarine descend, a school of sharks or dolphins - what a sight! I was blessed with having known such kind people and the pleasure of life on my 'private beach'.

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