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November 2018 was one of the best months of my life. My wife was pregnant!! We decided on Hawaii for what we called our “Babymoon”. My wife was six months pregnant at the time of our departure.

After a fun week on Oahu, we were both excited for the Big Island. We were informed by the Ranger at Volcano National Park (VNP) that lava within the Kilauea Volcano had been very active over the past few weeks, and the pool of lava which is typically observed from the Jaggar Observation Deck had receded. “Look at that orange cloud” my wife said, as we were driving through. My wife had a hunch that something was unique about it. We later found out that this cloud was a result of a volcanic eruption in a residential area adjacent to the park.

The next day we woke up to news of destruction caused by the open fissure, burning houses, blocking roadways, and causing wildfires. We were in Hilo and decided to spend the day shopping downtown. This is where our plans were shaken up. We arrive in the parking lot and as we are getting out of the car the entire vehicle starts to rock back and forth. We soon realized that we had both experiences an earthquake. There didn’t seem to be too much panic among the locals, so we just went about our day. Then it happens…Lightly at first and then more severe. Items start falling from shelves, and a woman in the distance screams. My wife, myself, another shopping couple, and the store clerk all try to stabilize our feet and wait out the shaking earth. Our full focus had to be on keeping our footing and once the shaking stopped, we all immediately left the building. I turned around to see tons of other shoppers come out on the street to discuss what had happened. As we walked along, we noticed stores shutting down and broken glass that had fallen off shelves. We would later find out that we had experienced a 6.9 magnitude earthquake in what would be the beginning of several months and millions of dollars of volcanic destruction…what a Babymoon!

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