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Date: 28 Feb 2010 05:27:00
Title: Tsunami warning but we are safe!

We woke this morning to hear on the VHF about a big earthquake in Chile and the likelihood of a tsunami reaching this area. No one was sure it was true until someone announced that NOAA had put out a tsunami warning, saying that it would affect Panama and would reach Hawaii. Initially it was thought that there would be 10ft waves and they would arrive within the hour at 08.50 local. So virtually all the boats, including ourselves, headed out to sea to find deep water and plenty of space. It's not that deep in Panama Bay and we had to go out several miles to find a depth of 80ft. There was no point going any further as it stays at that depth for miles and we wouldn't have time to find any deeper water. The next thing that we heard was that there would be several waves, but only 6ft. Then someone said that the wave had been seen via satellite and was heading for Panama. We stayed out for 4 hours, but I'm pleased to say we didn't even get a small ripple. With no wifi on the boat here, we haven't been able to find out any more details, so I suspect those back in the UK will know more than we do.

Although it wasted half the day, going out to sea was the right thing to do, just in case. A tsunami approaching Panama City would be disastrous. It's full of skyscrapers very close together, dozens over 30 storeys and a fair number much higher - there's an apartment building under construction that will be 100 storeys high. There are no sea defences that we could see and it could be like a row of dominoes if one started to fall!

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