Photos of Japanese Tsunami Hitting the Santa Cruz Harbor (Natural Disaster Photography)

I woke up this morning to helicopters overhead, thinking – hmm, that can’t be good. Bleary eyed, I picked up my iPhone, loaded Facebook and realized that Japan had had a massive earthquake, and tsunamis were headed to our west coast. My wife had already left to take our eldest daughter to school, so I grabbed my cameras, laptop and youngest daughter (sans shoes) and rushed away from the coast to where my wife was. After we determined amongst the other parents armed with iPhones that we weren’t in imminent danger, I went back home, donned my cameras and walked down to the harbor by my house.

There were tons of people lining the waterway and on the bridge that spans the harbor. Immediately I realized something odd – the water, normally still, was running like a swift river. It was dark with mud and debris, and I could tell some docks had gotten loose and some boats were adrift, running into other boats and the pillars of the cement bridge. After a few minutes the water came to a standstill, then reversed direction, setting off more bumper-boat action. I walked around for a couple hours, talking with people and documenting the event. Here’s a few of the photos, there’s more to see on my main website, www.GoodEyePhotography.com.

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Debris wraps around a boat in the harbor

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iPhones and cameras snapping away - it was hard to connect phone calls

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Spectators on the bridge watch as the current draws the boat near the bridge

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A good reason to take a break from the bike ride

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Seconds before the boat hit the bridge

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Buster Long (far left) and fellow Santa Cruz Yacht Club members rush to save some docked vessels from being hit by a runaway boat coming under the bridge (they succeeded)

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Buster Long (right) and friend keeping an eye out for rogue vessels

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A loose sailboat gets snagged by its topsail under the bridge - later the current reversed and this boat runs into some docked boats and mostly capsizes - then later rights itself, but with a list

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Colors tweaked a little to show the turbulent water and mud

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Hey, this is Santa Cruz people...

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The same boat that got stuck under the bridge. Here it is righting itself after the current reverses (it was mostly capsized when the surging waves crushed it against the docked boats)

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Finally the Coast Guard and Harbor Patrol attempt to control things

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No shortage of police presence. The crowds remained calm.

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Lucy the Goose, and controversial long time resident of the harbor, swam around honking at everything - abviously flustered about her typically quiet environment. Glad to see she was okay.

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It's hard to get a sense for the swiftness of the current in a still photo - but look at the water moving around the vertical wooden poles - I wouldn't want to be floating in it!

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For all intents and purposes, a calm, beautiful day in Santa Cruz.

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Whirlpools and eddies of water were abundant when the current reversed direction.

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Beautiful mud and water

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