PAT NEAL: You can’t go crabbing in a tidal wave

THANK YOU FOR reading this.

Sometimes I think if you didn’t read this no one would.

But you do.

I know that because of all of the cards and letters you send.

It takes a village to write a weekly column.

Sometimes it requires the venom of irate readers and government officials with the tireless efforts of a gang of editors working overtime to beat this column into something fit to print.

That in no way excuses last week’s column that suggested going crabbing during the coming subduction event was a good idea.

The Cascadia subduction event is a tectonic mega-thrust that rocks this world every 200 to 600 years as far back as geologists can figure.

This could be a disaster that might involve a 9-point-something earthquake and a 30-foot tsunami that has the potential to destroy all human structures on the Olympic Peninsula.

That is, except for Mount Trashmore, the mountain of garbage at the Port Angeles landfill.

We think Mount Trashmore has a good chance of surviving.

As mentioned in last week’s column, the tide goes way out before the tsunami hits.

The notion that you could run out and get into some of the best crabbing ever before the tsunami comes rushing back in is crazy, as mentioned in the column.

That is still no excuse.

Endangering the public in a crude attempt at humor is no joke.

People have a hard time figuring out normal tides as evidenced by the heroic efforts of the Coast Guard and National Park Service to rescue tourists off our ocean beaches.

Wandering out to a sea stack might seem like a good idea at low tide, but it is not.

Chances are you will have to be rescued when the tide comes back in.

That’s why you don’t go crabbing in a tidal wave.

The very idea reminds me of the Roger Miller tune “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd.”

That song was a hit in the 1960s when you could get away with saying stuff like that.

Crazy people just don’t try to roller skate in buffalo herds anymore.

They try to ride the buffalo, wrestle the buffalo and take selfies with the buffalo.

Then they wonder why they get gored like rag dolls by the enraged buffalo.

People are getting mauled trying to take selfies with grizzly bears.

Lately people have been getting bitten while attempting selfies with coiled rattlesnakes.

All this is done in an effort to get a video that will go viral enough to make other idiots engage in dangerously stupid activities.

Similarly, it would be unfortunate if the lame ideas expressed in this column convinced one person that you should go crabbing in a tidal wave.

A sharp-eyed reader in Sequim — thanks, Ron — referred me to a tragedy that occurred in Hawaii on April 1, 1946, when an Alaskan earthquake sent a tsunami to Hawaii.

With the approach of the tsunami, 16-year-old Herbert Nishimoto went out on the beach to look at some eels flopping around.

The tsunami hit, washing Nishimoto and two other boys out to sea where they drifted 40 miles overnight before they were rescued.

That tsunami killed 159 people, according to news reports.

Since then a total of 220 people have been killed by tsunamis in Hawaii. That’s more than all other natural disasters combined in Hawaii.

The coming subduction event is liable to be bigger than all our other natural disasters combined.

Please remember it’s safety first in disaster preparedness.

You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd and you can’t go crabbing in a tidal wave.


Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Wednesday.

He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via patneal [email protected]

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