Posted by: powellpjc | March 12, 2010

Chile Suffers again on the Richter Scale

 Saturday, February 27, 2010.

I knew something was up about 6 in the morning when I heard sounds coming from my boat that I have not heard before here in the port of Iquique. Groaning ropes, rushing water and a general sense of unease. When I finally hauled myself up it was just dawn and I could see a nice current flowing by my boat. Never seen that before. What to do? I connected my computer of course and went online. There, from my sister, was an email notifying me of the earthquake near the city of Concepción. That is about 2,000 km south of here. Early news reports mentioned a tsunami. Oh-oh. But, by the time I’d read that, the timeline for badtimes was over and we were dealing only with trailing wave action from the quake and aftershocks. No tsunami hit here.
Tsunami’s are no stranger to Iquique, though, and you will see lots of these signs about town.

I doubt a real tsunami looks like this but the drawing does get your attention.

I spent the morning on the boat, watching and wondering. The wave surge would fill the harbour rapidly–within 3 minutes–and then empty as quickly.

The surge rolls in at about 10 knots.

This went on for 6 hours. A few fishing boats broke loose from the moorings or anchors and barged about like bumper cars.

This old derelict cut himself loose for a spell.

This is what happens when you run out of sea room.


The fishermen were quick to secure things and the navy helped out also.

The armada boys trying not to get their shirts dirty.

Folk who live on land told me there were no shocks felt in the city. There is a tsunami siren in town (similar to an air raid siren) but it did not sound so I think we were well out of danger.
Just plain, dumb luck.
In the south, as was evident from news reports, it was an awful combination of misery and tragedy.

Life and death on the Rim of Fire.

Update: March 11, 2010

Today we did have tsunami warnings at noon. Three quakes struck 150 km or so southwest of Santiago and the authorities were taking no chances. The siren went off and all the workers in the harbour started walking toward higher ground. I was in the middle of a big painting job. The entire cockpit had just received its second coat and I was working on small touchups when a fellow boat painter walked by with his cellphone to warn me. What to do? I considered starting the engine and hauling anchor. Best place to be with a tsunami coming is out to sea and I knew how to get there within 15 minutes. I’d given it plenty of thought after the February event.
But first things first. Get more information. I went online to CNN and saw there was no threat to Iquique. I went back to painting, thinking about wolves and boys who cry.



  1. nice to see where you are and glad it isn’t upside down. always wondering how you are dear one

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