Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Maybe we Shouldn't Park on the Beach Tonight

We were near the northern tip of New Zealand when the Japan earthquake and tsunami occurred.  The earthquake struck during the night, and we happened to be parked nearly on the beach.  In the morning, the radio warned of the potential for the tsunami to reach the northern tip of New Zealand.  At first, I ignored the warning.  After 10 months of not being in Northland, I forgot that we finally were in Northland.  We moved the van.

Later that morning, we ran on the beach, and walked up the stream feeding into the ocean.  We watched waves of water run UP the stream every 8 minutes.  The waves were small, but it was fascinating to realize the power of the tsunami.   The waves had traveled across hemispheres and 5500 miles.  Scott tried to catch a big trout with his bare hands.  It had been stranded in the shallow water by the rapidly rising and falling stream, but it flip-flopped it's way to safety.

About a week later, we were at Bayley's Beach on the west coast. Here, you can drive onto the beach, even with a 2WD vehicle.  We thought it would be epic to park the van on the beach for the night.  It happened to be the equinox (spring or autumn depending on which hemisphere you're in).  The moon was the closest it had been to the earth in 30 years.  Thus, the tides were expected to be extreme.  Keeping this in mind, we hung out in the van, watching the sunset, and carefully watching the rising tide as it inched towards our van.  High tide was scheduled for 10pm, so we figured if the van wasn't swept away by say, 10:30pm, we would probably be okay for the rest of the night.  Come 9pm, a large surge of water lapped at our tires.  We decided to find another place to sleep.  The next morning, we drove back to Bayleys, only to find that the ramp on the beach was closed.  The massive tide had flooded at least 50 feet beyond where we had been parked.

Maybe we shouldn't park on the beach tonight...

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