ESCAPED DEATH IN MEXICO TIDAL WAVE IN 1985-MONSTER WAVES IN CALIFORNIA
IXTAPA MEXICO SEPTEMBER 1985
It has been 25 years since my trip to Ixtapa, Mexico. I suppressed the memory, because it was so horrible to experience. I was watching the Weather Channel today, and I saw the news story about the monster waves 20-25 feet in Newport Beach, California. I was sorry to hear that a person had died that had been caught in the wave.
It is my belief, and first hand experience, that the abnormal waves precede the forthcoming earthquake.Perhaps, by only a week. If I am correct, California may have a 8.0 earthquake. What I am going to describe is a true account of my experience and near death while on vacation in September of 1985 in Mexico. The photos of the boat and the wave are not the actual pictures, they were the closest images that I could find to the real images, still in my mind.
IXTAPA, ZIHUATANEJO- PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 19, 1985 ( A FEW DAYS BEFORE)
One evening while out with a group of friends, one of my friends, Ed was telling us that he was very stressed at work, and asked if we knew of any good vacation deals. I told Ed that I would check, and Ed suggested that we go together on a trip. I found a package deal for 7 nights, including airfare, hotel and food for $400.00 per person, at The Hotel Krystal in Ixtapa, Mexico.
We arrived at the airport in Zihuatanejo, Mexico,and went to our Hotel, The Hotel Krystal was a new beautiful hotel, and I wondered why I saw posted signs by the exits that mentioned earhquakes. I know now that Ixtapa is with 50 miles of the eathquake epiccenter.The date of our stay was right before September 19, 1985.
The Island Trip
It was the sixth day of our vacation, we had a very good time, and only had one strange experience while we were visiting other hotels in the area. I was taking pictures and some strangers came and told me to hide the camera. I saw pick up trucks with Mexican police driving up to a hotel and storming inside. The hotel Krystal had a shore trip that Ed wanted to go on, and it was a snorkeling trip to a small island. I do not swim, and I have no idea why I even considered on agreeing to take that trip. I remember taking a small blue canvas bag with me, I figured I would collect shells while the other people were swimming and snorkeling. We went to the beach and there was a small wooden boat, maybe 12 people were going on this short trip. It was a nice boat ride to this island, and everyone was having a good time.
The weather had been clear, blue skies,a great outdoor day. The captain person did not speak English but one of his assistants was bilingual and would translate. We were told to get ready to go back to the hotel and it was about 3pm. We get on the boat, it was a pointy wood boat in the front, with open sides, and rails on the side spaced evenly, and I stood in the back of the boat, holding on to a rail, and my canvas bag of rocks were on the floor. The boat had a wooden top, and to my right was another guest, a woman and she was standing the same way i was, holding the rail.
I know we had a gone a short distance and I noticed that The Captain looked nervous and he was speaking in Spanish, and seemed to become more upset. The only words I heard were from the bilingual person saying " The captain says we have to jump off the boat". I look at my friend Ed, and I said I can not swim. the woman next to me, says she can not swim. Meanwhile my mind is thinking, okay, they want everyone to jump into the ocean, I can not swim, and it is deep. By the time that thought had processed, everyone other than myself and the other woman had remained on the boat, still standing in the same place, in the rear of the boat holding on to the rail. I am only looking forward and to the side to see that everyone is off the boat. except the two of us.
I remained calm, I guess because I was confused, or in shock. That is when I turned and looked behind me, I saw a wall of water, so high and coming so fast, it had to be at least 15-20 feet high, I yelled to everyone else, " You had better be careful, there is a wall of water coming behind all of you". It never registered to me, that the same wall of water was also behind me in the boat. Whatever caused that odd thought pattern saved my life, because we never panicked or shifted our weight in the rear of that boat.
I saw nothing after seeing the huge wall of water behind me, and the boat landed upright in the water, not far from the shore. People were on the shore looking in disbelief, as this boat landed. I knew that the boat landing flat, I was not sure how deep the water was, but I wanted out of the boat. The water was about 4 1/2 feet deep. I jumped out of the boat, still had my canvas bag and got to shore. I do not remember seeing the other woman that was on the boat. Some of the other guests were making it to the shore, Ed was okay as well. I was shaking and walked to the large pool area, where the water was not deep, and where the pool bar was and had a drink. Mind you I do not drink.
I do not remember any of the conversation with Ed or anyone after that afternoon. I knew that we were leaving the next day, I wanted to get out of Mexico. I did pray and thank God for saving my life. It was not that long after we had got back to New York that the news of the two earthquakes in Ixtapa, and Mexico City were headline news stories. The wave was a Tsunami, one of the first warnings, I still to this day, do not know what signs the captain saw, before the wave, to instruct the people to get in the ocean. Nor do I know how they swam with that wave being so large.
I can only figure out, that the boat was lifted on top of the wave, and carried on the top of the wave, with us in the boat, and the boat landed flat on its bottom, closer to shore. There was no water in the boat, the boat was not damaged. Now I understand why the people on the shore seem confused at what they had seen.
I still Travel!
I have taken 3 cruises, and I did own a 21 foot Grady White Boat. It took awhile to be able to go back out on the Ocean. I swim better now, and I do have a life jacket on or close by. I did not even realize that in Mexico there are no safety rules or regulations.
When I saw the weather channel report about the huge waves in California today, I knew that it is a bad and dangerous sign, which I have seen before. I hope that I am wrong....
What the boat looked like
Anatomy of a Earthquake
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Facts about the 1985 Earthquake In Mexico
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