Tsunami waves hit Hawaii shop, causing nearly $100K in damage

A surge of water Saturday morning tore through Sea Quest Hawaii's retail store at Keauhou Bay.
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 9:02 AM MST
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HONOLULU (KHNL/Gray News) - Impacts in Hawaii from Saturday’s tsunami generated by the volcanic eruption near Tonga were mainly seen in harbors and low-lying areas.

But one Kona business was hit particularly hard as their shop took a blow from the surge, KHNL reported.

Water tore through Sea Quest Hawaii’s retail store at Keauhou Bay. Owner Manu Powers said they got a call around 4 a.m. Saturday alerting them that the shop for their snorkeling tour business was experiencing tsunami damage.

The flood of water was strong enough to move a nearly 300-gallon propane tank across the yard. And it was an even bigger mess inside.

“Once we opened up the office, everything that had been outside was inside,” Powers said. “Everything — because the propane tank was bolted down, obviously — got pushed into the office by the surge, sucked back out again and even over a rock wall that was a couple of feet high.”

“We were bewildered. Everything was ruined,” she added. “About 95% of our inventory and our gear, that doesn’t Include electronics, and our washer, dryer, dishwasher, ice maker, refrigerator, all of those things, you know, coolers, snorkels and masks — all of that is gone. And who knows where?”

Powers said this is the second time her business has suffered tsunami damage. In 2011, waves from the Japan tsunami washed away the entire building.

She said everything they lost this time can eventually be replaced, and she’s grateful that no one was hurt.

The business’ boats were not damaged, and they were able to restart snorkeling tours the next day.

Powers says it’s much-needed income right now as the company tries its best to recover.

[Read a related report: Communication with Tonga likely won’t be restored for weeks, leaving families worried]

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