Meanwhile next door the Grand Wailea Resort, bellmen and valets were busy loading suitcases into cars as some guests chose to leave. The main lobby is on the fourth floor so remaining guests occupying the lower buildings were " vertically evacuated" and invited to enjoy refreshments and a convivial atmosphere (as best one can muster during a tsunami scare!)while awaiting updates from hotel staff.We were at the Grand Wailea during the 2011 tsunami , and can say the resort is pretty practiced at keeping chaos down, though the sight of seeing people sleeping on floors has never fully left us.
On Oahu, Waikiki's Kalakaua Avenue, the main drag, was shut down by 9:30pm and all hotels were vertically evacuated. Fire and police were told to leave the area as large traffic jams and some accidents took place as local workers and visitors gassed up their cars aiming to flee the area. Boat owners took their vessels out to sea in all major harbors throughout Hawaii to await the "all clear."
The tsunami, generated by a magnitude 7.7 earthquake on the western coast of Canada and Queen Charlotte Islands, was slated to hit all of Hawaii's beaches, harbors and shorelines by 10:35 pm. And yet from room 542 at the Fairmont Kea Lani, the waves sounded a bit stronger in their succession but by 10:50 pm there was no major wave crest. This turned out to be true throughout the islands and no damages were reported.
A view from Room 542: Things were wet, but well in Wailea
The Pacific Tsumani Warning Center cancelled the tsunami warning just after 1 am on Sunday morning. Collectively an almost audible sigh of relief could be heard and certainly felt, as on Sunday morning hotels all over Hawaii re-opened their beaches and guests happily resumed the business of vacationing.
We hope there's a similar "good news" report in store for our Hurricane Sandy coverage, which continues today.