Tsunami Excitement

Today Bill and I got a late start and it was almost 8AM by the time we got to shore, our shower bags deposited near the showers, and were up on the causeway for our morning walk.  We had not gotten very far when Bill received a phone call from Frank on Windsong.  Frank said that he had just heard that there was a tsunami warning for this area due to the magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile.  The big wave was expected to arrive at about 9:50 this morning.  Since that was near low tide here in Balboa and a tsunami wave first empties out a bay before sending in the big wall of water, we decided to get Lanikai out to deeper water.

Bill and I made fast tracks back to the dock and caught a launch out to Lanikai (sitting in only 8 feet of water at the time), got the engine started and were very soon underway out into the channel (a good comfortable 50 feet of water).  Bill and I motored out to the “big ship” anchorage (about 60 to 80 feet deep), along with many of the other sail boats moored in Balboa and almost all of the sailboats anchored in the Playita anchorage near Flamenco Island – about 100 boats total.  A very few of the big ships also hauled anchor and moved themselves into more open water as well.  We all spent the next three hours drifting among the anchored ships.

No big waves arrived here; there was a report of an 8 foot surge at Isla Contadora about 35 miles away (never substantiated) and a late report of a 7-inch surge (!?!?) at Isla Taboga about 2 miles away.  A non-event here in the inner portion of the Bay of Panama… But… It could have been serious under the right conditions, so “better safe than sorry”.

By noon we deemed it safe to return to the mooring field.  We were tied up on our buoy by 1:30 in the afternoon.


Lanikai following sailboats in the channel to the safety of deeper water.