We used to call them Tidal Waves. If my dad happen to know a manager, we would go to the top of one of the hotels for Tidal Wave parties. The waves never came but the sirens always created a nice effect for the rooftop parties.
In 1964 on March 24, a Good Friday I think, Alaska had a really big earthquake. We surfers all headed out from school, grabbed our boards and paddled out beyond the reef at the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor, Waikiki. My parents yelled at me for being stupid and then took a Honolulu transit bus up to St. Louis Heights, I think, above the city. Here my dad sat with a pair of binoculars, watching. He was out of luck this time, and it was the 2nd biggest quake of all time something-or-another... big deal.
I was just going on 16. What did I care? After several hours of waiting, the first "waves" rolled in. They were hardly noticeable. We all laughed and started paddling back in. It was almost dark when we noticed the long line of harbor boats and houseboats all strung out on the sea in front of the harbor and down towards Diamond Head. What a sight the tourists in beach Hotels must have had that night!
Wow... it was like a string of Christmas lights on a dark green sea. We paddled over to the boats. Everyone was drinking and partying, music, guitars, dancing... People were whooping and falling overboard crossing from boat to boat, and swimming, and swimming nude too! What a party!
I don't recall going home that night but I do recall having a few stolen beers and a great time. The next morning was beautiful, and it was also a Saturday! Those boats took all day just getting back into their slips. If I could do it all over, I would do it twice, just to remember that much more of a very special time and place in my youth.
Thomas R. Gore, 2007