Earthquake in Tonga | Whole Lotta Shakin Gwan

Friday morning March 20th and I am up early and excited, we fly to Ha’a Pai today for a weekend vacation. We wanted to fly earlier in the week but all the flights were full. As it turns out all the previous flights this week were canceled due to ash in the air from the volcano erupting near here, serendipitous.

Our flight was the first out in 3 days, necessitating a larger plane to carry all the canceled passengers. (We flew just off the still smoldering new island and got some pretty good photos)

Alice is stirring in the living room, Dianne is resting in bed and I’m on the front porch working a crossword puzzle. Suddenly an earth tremor builds in intensity. I have felt a few tremors before, once in California about 15years ago the bed swayed and the hangers jangled slightly and last Monday here in Tonga at an internet café we felt a slight jolt as if a large truck went by, it was no truck and Dianne was unsure if she even felt it.

This tremor really increased in intensity, the house was wildly swaying, the ground heaving impossibly, all the pigs and chickens in the yard were running in every direction possible, I went into the bedroom to make sure Dianne experienced this one and she was bolt upright and well aware of the situation. We figured we would be safer outside so we all headed out the door, actually having to hold on to the walls to keep our balance on the way out. (Alice says this is a gross exaggeration and that we merely had to slide one hand along the wall to assist in balance, like walking thru a moving subway car)

Being outside and the tremendous shaking having not subsided one bit it soon occurred to me that filming this phenomenon was in order so back inside to get the camera. By the time the camera was powered up and the filming commenced the earthquake had started to ebb. Probably shaking the camera would have the same effect as what was recorded, or a late night stumble home from the pub, so maybe the results will be less than dramatic however the vegetable basket hanging from the ceiling continued to sway for at least 15 minutes. We did experience a very violent and long earthquake, it was an awesome experience, and I am sure all the pigs are fine. (Maybe not the one slated for Sunday feast though.)