North Shore Maui—Maliko Bay 8:30 A.M. Friday March 11, 2011.
This morning, while coming into my office in Kaului, I stopped to check on my farm in the bottom of Maliko Bay, which is between Haiku and Paia on Maui’s north shore. The farm lies in the tsunami inundation zone.
My pond was fine and the water had come up Maliko Stream about 100 yards from the ocean. No water had risen over the banks, or onto the property, but the bottom of the stream was full of rubbish, tires, tree trunks, and coconuts. After making sure everything was secure, I decided to head down to the bay to see if there was any damage to the boat launch at Maliko. The time was 8:30.
Initially, it looked like the action was over. There was mud, coconuts, and some rocks scattered over the road, but it was passable. When I arrived, I saw a truck with a trailer parking and out jumped Peter, a paddler/fisherman friend of mine, and he started trotting to the boat launch to get on his boat which was being driven by a friend.
I told him to hop on the back of my truck, because he was running in slippers through the mud. He hopped on the back and I started to drive. Immediately, I noticed the bay started to empty out as water quickly receded. He hopped off the truck and started running to the boat launch.
The water in Maliko Bay was quickly receding and I figured I better get outta there a.s.a.p.
I threw my truck in reverse and started dovetailing in reverse through the mud and debris. By the time I had actually turned around the water had already steamrolled by in and up the stream.
Luckily, the water only rose 3 or 4 feet above normal high tide, or I would have gotten seriously nailed. As I drove off, I saw the boat pull up to the boat launch at the peak of the wave. Peter jumped off the pier and on to the boat. We both took off in different directions.
To actually be in the position that I had put myself made me realize how serious the situation would have been if the wave had been larger. The speed that the water returns is amazing. No human could outrun it and as I drove off, I was going about 20 miles per hour and the water rose in the stream bed right next to me. The effects of this most recent tsunami were relatively benign in comparison to the tsunami that we experienced in 1946 and 1954.
Although I wasn’t around to experience the effects of this tsunami, I do have some good stories to share that I have picked up from Maui old timers. Please contact me with the latest of what is taking place on this very bizarre day here in Maui.
Here are some previous blogs about my farm in Maliko that you may enjoy: