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Hawaii Earthquake, October 15, 2006

Updated on September 23, 2009

I survived the Big One in Hawaii on October 15, 2006

October 15, 2006, Big Island 6.7 Earthquake- I still remember this day as if it were yesterday. I had stayed the night at my (then) boyfriend's house which was located on the North side of Kailua Kona on the big island. I woke up and looked at the time, just a little past 7. I was just thinking that I should go back to sleep when I felt a little shake. I thought maybe a helicopter was flying close by but then the shaking continued and got stronger and stronger. I screamed and flung my hand at my boyfriend. He jumped up fast and we both tried to get up to the door but the shaking was just too much and knocked us both back down. We spent the duration of the earthquake watching the TVs and books to make sure nothing hit us. Once it was over, we were shocked. My boyfriends mother knocked on our bedroom door asking if we were OK.

We decided to leave the room to look at the damage. The bedroom floor was covered with books and papers. Anything that wasn't bolted down or as heavy as a desk was all over the floor. When we dragged our way through the mess, we had difficulties opening the door. It took both of us pulling for the door to open. My boyfriends mother was a glass artist. She would paint any type of glass and she was good at it. The first thing we saw was just about every piece of her artwork was shattered on the ground. She immediately ran out to her shed with my boyfriend since she was working on shower doors at the time. They tied it down while I stood outside looking up at the volcano.

The first thing anyone worries about is whether or not the volcano erupted. As my boyfriend and his mother came back in, the aftershock (6.0) hit. We quickly gathered under a doorway. Thankfully, it didn't last long. At that point, I realized that my step mom was at home alone. My father was a helicopter pilot for the fire department and just so happened to be on his shift. My step mom was a nurse so I knew that they may be calling her in. However, since the phone lines were busy, I had to get home to check on her. I noticed as I headed out of the house, that a house right next door was completely split in half. I quickly got into my car after I saw that and swerved around all the debris on the highway to get to the house. When I got there, I was relieved to know that she was OK. Other than my TV falling and a ton of canned items everywhere, our house suffered minor damage. I then tried to send a text message to my mom on the main island. I was sure that they had heard about in California. I sent a text that stated "Earthquake, everyone OK, call when I can."

When the phone lines weren't as busy anymore, I called my work as I was suppose to work that night. They decided to close for the night but they said there was a big mess everywhere. I went against what the news was telling us to and drove 40 minutes to my work to help clean up all of the broken glasses and moved ovens. When I got back home after that, my mom said she finally got a hold of my dad and he was flying. I decided to call my mom at that point.

I was amazed to hear that no one had heard of the earthquake. The news channels hadn't said anything and the only way she knew was from my text message. She had gone onto the Internet to find out information but nothing was there until a few hours afterwards.

So many of my co-workers had stories. Many said they thought it was the end or that the volcano exploded. Some lost their homes as it was too dangerous to live in them. The beautiful thing about Hawaii is that everyone was willing to help someone out. So no one went without a place to stay.

Aftershocks lasted for months, one being on Thanksgiving. I remember that day well. I was on my laptop in the living room and my dad went to hand me the phone that had my older brother on the other line. I set my laptop off to the side and grabbed the phone. As I put the phone up to my ear, the aftershock hit. I screamed into the phone to my brother that there was another earthquake and my step mom and I were out of the door very quickly. We laughed about it afterwards until we found out that the power was out. Thankfully, we had been planning to deep fry our turkey and many of the side dishes had been made the night before. Power came back on just perfectly to where we could warm up the food.

Not too long after the initial earthquake, t-shirts were made for tourist with the words, "I Survived The Big One."

So now, my question for everyone is...Were you there or do you know someone that was there? What was your experience?


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