Gratitude on Kauai After a Tsunami Warning

Tsunami warning on KauaiToday I chose not to write about copywriting, marketing or social media. Today, my post is about gratitude.

You see, I live on the island of Kauai – the island that was projected to be the first to be hit by a tsunami set in motion after Japan’s earthquake.

I had just laid my head on the pillow Thursday night, when the phone rang. A friend called to tell me about Japan’s 8.9 earthquake, that it had set a tsunami in motion and the state of Hawaii was under a tsunami warning. Shortly thereafter, the Civil Defense agency call to evacuate came and the tsunami sirens went off. It was about 10pm and the tsunami was projected to hit around 3am.

I started to pack my things. It’s interesting to me that what I found most important to pack were my photos, sentimental jewelry, my computer and some clothes. Probably 99% of my belongings were left behind.

I thought about my mom’s silk bathrobe that I’ve had for so long and my dad’s terry cloth bathrobe. And, I left them behind. However, when push comes to shove, mom & dad’s bathrobes hold so much sentiment to me. So, heaven forbid there’s a next time, I’ll take those with me. Do you think that’s odd or just being human?

Anyway, my friends and I went to higher ground – to a condo that was available to use, but totally empty. We had bedding and “set up camp” on the floor. We did not have TVs and couldn’t get internet access. So the news we received was from phone calls we were getting from family & friends on the mainland.

I got a call from my brother in NY around 3:20am HST saying he heard on the news that the tsunami had hit Hanalei (which is 5 miles from where I live), but no damage reported. So I called KKCR (the public radio station) and they said “the tsunami hasn’t hit.” Interesting how different media report different things.

At any rate, around 6:45am they said there were still surges coming so they wouldn’t give an “all clear” for anyone in low lying areas to return to their homes. At approx. 8:00am they gave the all clear and those of us on low lying land could return home. That includes me (I live about 2-3 blocks from the beach).

Compared to Japan, we are VERY lucky on Kauai. We did not have any damage to speak of, except for a couple of north shore oceanfront homes that had some water damage on the ground level. Basically, every one on Kauai is safe.

I am so grateful that my home is still standing and I didn’t have to deal with the tragedy of losing it like so many in Japan are now doing. Time to count my blessings.

To those who called, e-mailed and put posts on Facebook – thank you. I am grateful for your caring & concern. Those close to me know, I treasure my friends & family so much. This is when it’s hard to live so far away from so many who are near and dear to me.

While I hope you never have the experience, it’s not a bad idea to keep a list of things you want to make sure you take with you (there’s one my fridge).
If you had to evacuate your home, what would be the first thing you’d reach for as you prepared to leave?

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. Debra – so glad you are safe and that the island of Kauai was not impacted…it is one of my favorite places on this earth. When we were warned we might have to evacuate my former home in San Clemente, CA (the Laguna fires, if you recall)who could sleep? I walked around my entire home in the few minutes I had, taking a video of all our belongings for insurance purposes. Then I made a list of what to take when we did have to evacuate. I have that list to this day and keep it where I can get to it quickly. Top of the list of course are: account for all family members and pets, identification and important papers from the safe, business client files/disks, keys, video of house inventory, emergency kit in garage (with water, food, tools, flashlights, radio, change of clothes, pet food), family photo albums & videos, my computer and backup tapes, my business card file, small jewelry armoire, and so on. I tried to put the most important things at the top because we were not sure how much time we’d have. Again, glad you are safe!

    • Christel, many thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do have a list I keep on my fridge of those things to pack. Family photos and jewelry that holds sentimental value is up there. A video of your home is a great one that I never thought about – best to do that before the emergency hits and have it tucked away with your important papers or saved on your computer. With the tsunami alarm system they have on Kauai, the good thing is that there are several hours between the first alarm and/or phone call and the actual time they project the tsunami will hit. Not enough time to pack everything, but enough to gather what’s most important to you. Hopefully neither you nor I have to go through an evacuation again, but Mother Nature has her own way of doing things. Again, thanks for your good wishes. Have a great day. Debra

  2. Nothing gets a girl over her blues like and international disaster. It makes us get up and get going in ways that we never thought possible. To see the amount of damage that has been done by both nature and man and to realize that we are safe, secure and in touch with friends and family both new and old, allows us to realize that time is of the essence and we must make full use of every momennt.

    May we all continue to support and love each other in this global world and to seek and offer help without reservations; knowing that as a community, the earth continues to get smaller with each cherished communication….

    • Thanks Susan. Being grateful for what we have is so important. Friends & family can get us through the best & worst of times. I also think Mother Earth is trying to tell us something about how we care for others as well as the environment. Happy to connect with you and appreciate you taking the time to share your caring thoughts. Have a great day.

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