I Feel the Earth Move
The Date: 28 January 2020 The Location: Blackbeard's Liquor Store, Grand Harbour Shopping Center, Grand Cayman The Time: 2:10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time Blackbeard's in Grand Harbour is our go-to liquor store on our way from West Bay to Villa SeaRenity. On January 28 we parked in the lot to the left of the store, strolled to the door and walked in. Immediately one of the employees said, "Did you feel that?" We both looked at him like he was crazy, but then he pointed to the light fixture swaying back and forth and said, "IT'S AN EARTHQUAKE!" Say WHAT??? Yep, it was an earthquake. Another employee opened the door and stood in the doorway. I once heard standing in a doorway is a safe place to be during an earthquake. Clearly, she was the only smart one among us because the rest of us stood around watching the lights sway and feeling the floor wave. And I mean WAVE like your standing on an ocean wave, not like someone is waving hello or goodbye. Hurley's next door was evacuated, and it was pretty amazing to see all the employees and customers quickly shepherded out of the grocery store whilst those of us in the liquor store kept standing around with our mouths hanging open wondering if the rum was going to fly off the shelves. The entire experience was fascinating, not frightening, although in truth I think we were too shocked to be frightened. Within two minutes the earth stopped moving beneath our feet, the rhythm of the swaying lights began to slow and all those folks evacuated from the grocery store headed back inside. Just as quickly as it started it was over. We finished our shopping and headed to Villa SeaRenity. Crisis averted...or so we thought. Our lack of "earthquake-on-an-island" experience became evident when we realized the danger hadn't passed; it morphed into a tsunami warning. The Cayman Islands Government handled the situation swiftly, activating the emergency alert system with all local radio stations broadcasting the warning to move off the beaches. We listened to the radio and watched the ocean from the Villa SeaRenity balcony. We knew a tsunami could come as one wave or a series of small waves continually rolling in and not retreating back to the ocean. The ocean remained calm as we watched and waited, nothing changed, and within a couple of hours, the tsunami warning was lifted. Like the earthquake, it seemed the threat was over before we truly realized what happened. Later that evening we ventured out to dinner, the drive to Camana Bay was uneventful, restaurants and stores were open and operating as if nothing happened. Although the first words of greeting by everyone we came in contact with were, "Did you feel the earthquake?" Everyone's experience was different, but we were all the same. We were all in Grand Cayman during a 7.7 magnitude earthquake, we all lived to tell about it and the island we loved survived with nothing more than a couple of sinkholes and a few items falling off shelves. Everyone realized how blessed we were and how lucky Grand Cayman was to escape a potentially serious situation unscathed. As for our personal "earth moving" experience, we learned a lot about earthquakes and tsunamis, and we learned the Cayman Islands Government is prepared and ready to handle an emergency situation. We are happy to announce Villa SeaRenity was carefully inspected and suffered no structural damage and unless you count artwork being slightly askew the interior escaped untouched by the moving plates below the ocean's surface. As for the rum on the Blackbeard's shelves, all safe and accounted for.