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Hitching a ride across the Pacific

OLYMPIA — By now, most people have heard or read about the striped fish that came across the Pacific in a boat after the tsunami in Japan.

But the boat that washed ashore near Long Beach was actually full of critters that made the trip. The state Department of Ecology has posted photos of some hitch-hikers on its flick page, which can be seen by clicking here.

Japanese Reporter Survives Tsunami

Toya Chiba, a reporter with the Iwate Tokai newspaper, is swept by a surging tsunami at the port city of Kamaishi, northeastern Japan, as the region was struck by a massive earthquake that spawned the tsunami. Chiba, who was shooting photos at the mouth of the Owatari River when the tsunami struck him, survived and found himself only suffering scratches and bruises after being swept away for about 30 meters (98 feet). (AP Photo/Kamaishi Port Office via Kyodo News)

Japan’s N-Crisis Spikes Pill Demand

Humboldt County resident Steve Timmons got the last bottle of kelp at Eureka Natural Foods in Eureka, Calif., about 90 miles south of the tsunami-stricken Crescent City, Ca. harbor, after a run on iodine cleaned out the store's supply and ran up more than 100 names on a rain-check list on Tuesday. Japan's nuclear crisis is spiking demand in the U.S. and a few other places for potassium iodide, a cheap drug that can protect against one type of radiation damage — even though the risk is only in Japan. (AP Photo/The Times-Standard, Josh Jackson)

Question: Are you concerned at all that fallout from Japan's nuclear crisis may expose the Inland Northwest to high doses of radiation? Are you taking potassium iodide as a precaution?

Spending the night in a parking lot

On vacation in Hawaii, we were under an evacuation order two nights ago, when the tsunami threatened the islands. We have a family group here and so we loaded in baby and toddler and adults in two vans and headed for higher ground, which turned out to be a parking lot of a shopping mall, and then a few hours later, when it was feared the waves might be even higher than predicted, we moved to a huge grassy field, an event parking lot though it never became clear what kind of event might happen there.

We listened to the radio all night in one van while babies slept in another. Because it was later in Spokane, and even later on the East Coast, where we have relatives, there was much texting going on. We have a relative from Japan and prayed and worried about her family. And it was reassuring in the dark night to know we had so many folks with us in spirit and in texting, as we were with the family we know in Japan.

The parking lot security guide showed much kindness to all parked there, opening the bathrooms. And then at the event field, where hundreds of cars gathered, people were kind to one another, sharing information.

At about 6 in the morning, we all returned to condos near the beach. The waves didn't amount to what had been feared. No damage where we were staying, but we turned on TV to see the horror in Japan.

In times when extraordinary events interrupt routine — or vacation — the same things matter and transcend all. The hope you aren't alone. And how much kindness matters.

Gregoire: Stay off beaches with tsunami advisory

OLYMPIA — Washington coastal beaches are under a tsunami advisory as a result of the earthquake in Chile, which means folks should stay away from them, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Saturday.

Here’s her full statement:

“Our hearts are with the people of Chile following last night’s earthquake.

“As a result of the earthquake a tsunami wave was generated and is now spreading across the Pacific Ocean. A tsunami advisory is in effect for the entire Washington coast. However, there is no tsunami watch or warning currently in effect for the Washington coast.

“We are closely monitoring the situation. It is strongly recommended that people stay away from beaches and coastal waters this afternoon and should be alert to strong currents in coastal harbors. Coastline communities will be notified should conditions change and should follow the advice of their local emergency management agencies.”