Outdoors, action, adventure

Category: Tsunamis

Chilean fisherman offering tsunami-area boat tours

Boats lie marooned near the coast in Talcahuano after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile, triggering a tsunami that hit coastal communities.

Fishermen in the Chilean port city of Talcahuano have been struggling to make ends meet since a tsunami hit the area after a massive earthquake on Feb. 27, damaging ports and washing fishing boats ashore.

While port authorities work to lift stranded vessels out of the streets of the city, located 300 miles south of Santiago, one fishing boat captain has found an alternative way to make some money -- by taking tourists on boat tours of the devastation.

Sergio Rodriguez told Chilean news program "24 Horas" that the idea began as "a semi-sarcastic way of inviting people for a cruise and showing them what happened."

In recent weeks, Rodriguez has sold more than 600 tickets, at $3 each, for his daily tours.

Though some area residents are dismayed at the way Rodriguez has turned tragedy into opportunity, the captain said that his boat tours are his best chance to "keep some cash in Talcahuano."

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Boats lie marooned near the coast in Talcahuano after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile, triggering a tsunami that hit coastal communities. Credit: Natacha Pisarenko / Associated Press

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Honduras earthquake rattles nerves of divers, anglers throughout Caribbean

Turneffe Flats Lodge Picture
When the 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Caribbean region at 2:24 a.m. today, scuba-diving tourists near the epicenter on the island of Roatan fled from dwellings and those on the island's low-lying west end ran into the hills.

Residents and employees did too.

"Everybody got out of the house instantly, " said PJ Rowntree, owner of Coconut Tree Divers on the small island beyond Honduras, which received the most damage. "Many of them ran off in their night clothes."

The earthquake, centered offshore beyond Honduras, reportedly killed at least two people and toppled more than two dozen homes in Honduras and Belize to the north. It also collapsed a bridge spanning Honduras' largest river, the Ulua. However, in Belize, which also is a diving and fly-fishing paradise, tourist areas seemed to weather the shaking. 

Jake Sinna, general manager of Turneffe Flats resort on a small offshore atoll, said,  "I thought it was a thunderstorm moving in, but when the house shook for about 10 seconds I realized that it must be something else, like an earthquake. After inspection of my surroundings, I quickly turned to others who might be in need of assistance."

Sinna said, "Everything is back to normal" on Turneffe Atoll (pictured) and seemingly throughout Belize City.

In Honduras and remote areas in Belize, however, residents were being urged not to panic. The earthquake, which was felt elsewhere in Central America as well, occurred four months after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake killed dozens of residents and stranded hundreds of tourists in remote areas of Costa Rica.

Thankfully, the Honduras quake, because it was centered offshore, was not so destructive. Outposts will try to update this item later today.

— Pete Thomas

Photo of Turneffe Atoll courtesy of Turneffe Flats resort

Tsunami warning issued for Tonga region but few seem to be taking it seriously

Tongavolcano_2 **UPDATE: The tsunami warning was canceled several hours after this item was posted.

The photos accompanying this item are of an underwater volcanic eruption Wednesday near the Tongan island of Tongatapu in the South Pacific.

The steam and ash carried high into the air. On Thursday (Friday in Tonga), a 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the region, prompting officials to issue a tsunami warning for Tonga and neighboring islands.

There were no reports of damage from the earthquake and, according to an Associated Press story, few were taking the tsunami warning seriously.

"People are out on the roads, laughing at the warning," police spokesman Niua Kama said. "They are not moving from the coast."

Hopefully, Mother Nature won't be enjoying the last laugh.

The Hawaii-based Tsunami Warning Center cautioned that some coastal areas in Hawaii also could experience a rise in sea level and unusual currents that could last several hours.

-- Pete Thomas

Photos: Matangi Tonga Online via Associated Press



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Outposts' primary contributor is Kelly Burgess.