Most of you have heard by now that we had a 7.1 magnitude earthquake at 2:30 a.m. today. It was incredible. I had just woken from a very deep REM sleep, perhaps sensing something, lay awake listening but heard nothing amiss. Used the bathroom, snuggled back down into bed, when suddenly the quake hit, shaking us like nothing we've ever experienced. The bed was shaking and moving, the floor was moving, everything was rattling and bouncing, and we were terrified. The power went out immediately. Total darkness. Once we realized that it was an earthquake, Don said "we've got to get out of here". We scrambled around, Don found his keys to our gate, and we ran out and up onto the road.
We could hear people off in the distance, down the hill, down on the beach, all hollering and crying out, some quite hysterical. Soon we saw car headlights, people leaving beachfront homes, heading for higher ground, fearful of a tsunami. That never even crossed our minds, never having experienced an earthquake while also on an island, but Don said later that we were too close to the epicenter to have any tsunami effect here. We didn't know how close that was, but it sure felt like it was right under our house. In fact, it was 27 miles away - close enough.
Dennis and Merlin called to see if we were ok....we were and so were they. We heard our neighbors, Chuck and Tia, driving down to their church and missionary inn near the beach, checking on people and bringing some of them back up to their house on the hill above us. Dennis and Merlin's kids, who live down the hill from us, came up the hill, also fearing a tsunami. Lots of people were sitting outside, talking and waiting to see if it was all over. Not much sleep afterwards.
The sky was completely clear; I've never seen so many stars before, including the Milky Way, which we seldom can see in our urban home in the States. I checked the hummingbird nest to make sure the babies hadn't been blown out, and they were ok. We found our oil lamp, lit it and went around the house, checking for damage. My lamp and a glass of water had tumbled off my bedside table. A couple of pictures fell off a wall and table. The fire extinguisher fell over (and thankfully didn't not discharge all over). Nothing fell out of cabinets or off shelves. Amazing. A few cans fell over inside the cabinets but nothing broke. Our house doesn't appear to have sustained any structural damage. About three hours later, the power came back on - that really surprised us. Dennis came by to say the pump to the well had not come back on, so be sparing in our use of water. He also said they had been getting phone calls from people in Canada and the States and it was worldwide news already. I immediately sent out e-mails saying we were ok, then called my parents, fearing that my dad would have heard and be worried. My dad doesn't do e-mail, and I knew my mother would still be sleeping. Thankfully, my cell phone worked and I was able to let them know we were fine. A short time later, the water pump sprang to life, and we have plenty of water again.
We are feeling very blessed today and hopeful that Dave and Tracy's flight arrives on schedule. Too bad they missed all the excitement though.