Thanks to Tom Miller for forwarding this note from Richard Gillette, captain of the Pegasus, the wooden boat in the Berkeley harbor which is part of the non-profit Pegasus Project, teaching city children about the Bay and how to sail.

Ahoy all y’all,

That tsunami traveled all the way across the Pacific and arrived in San Francisco around 8:08 am this morning. The first surge was not so bad, but the later ones were quite powerful.

There were in excess of 25 knot currents inside the Berkeley Marina. Several docks were broken and several pilings snapped in half and others just leaned over. The end tie dock at D dock broke in half. A piling on O dock snapped and fell on a boat causing slight damage. Several fingers on O dock were also damaged as well as docks at Berkeley Marine Center.

When I heard that we were getting damage, I got in my dinghy and went to help. I knew that the Marina was down to one rescue boat and could use the help. I was right. We used my dinghy to help move broken docks, move boats and secure floating items. At one point the current was so strong we could barely make way. I took several videos to share with you what it was like.

Luckily there was no significant damage to any vessels. Pegasus and my boat Java Head rode it out with no problems. Thank you to all of you who texted or called to make sure I knew what was happening and to make sure Pegasus, Java Head and I were safe. I really appreciated your concern.

With smiles and smiles to go…

Captain Rich

Captain Rich also uploaded some videos which show the “broiling surge” of the water (above), some of the damage caused by the tsunami to a dock in the harbor, and the speed with which the water rose as the surge came in.

Tracey Taylor

Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...

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  1. Here is “street level footage” of the tsunami in one of the worst hit parts of Japan:!5781528/street+level-footage-of-a-japanese-town-washing-away

    Just to the north of the Bay Area, off shore, lies a subduction zone of fault lines much like the one where the recent quake in Japan took place. An even of similar magnitude and similar resulting tsunami is quite possible around here. One big difference is that in our built environment and in our culture, we are far less well prepared.

  2. I’m with Mr. Moore, it really shows us that we are globally involved. Allowing amazement and being informed by the gift of this visual, is a reminder of the fact that the force of this earthquake was great enough to be felt so significantly here in our Bay. Thanks to our local sailors and their knowledge of the ocean and the bay.

  3. Is too news!!! I was thinking that this was a fascinating glimpse at the power of nature– that the force of this earthquake could be felt all the way around the world right up to our own shores. And that by showing how even across an ocean we are connected, would, in fact, “promote a consciousness” so that we can help. Or if “promoting a consciousness” is a little vague, here’s a link to where you can help

  4. Seems rather petty and insignificant to talk about the minimal damage inflicted in Berkeley when the devastation in Japan is so significant by comparison!
    This is not news!!!!! Perhaps Berkeleyside could, instead, promote a consciousness so that we can help those in Japan.