HONOLULU (CBS/AP) – Waves up to 7 feet high hit Hawaii Friday morning after a massive earthquake struck in Japan.

Residents in coastal areas were sent to higher ground, and tourists at hotels in Waikiki were moved to upper floors as the tsunami approached.

Former WBZ-TV photographer Danny Marotta is on vacation there, staying in a hotel just 300 yards from Waikiki Beach.

Marotta said the ocean near him had been very active before sunrise, with the tide pulling way back on several occasions. But there was no significant flooding.

In an interview with WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi via Skype, he said receding waters are usually the first sign of trouble.

“When I saw that water recede the first time, I went ‘Uh oh!’ and I said ‘Here we go.’ I grabbed the camera and I was all set to bolt.”

But he didn’t have to leave.  They were given the all-clear after sunrise.

“After looking at Japan,” he said, “the Hawaiian islands have dodged a bullet.”

WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports

Marotta talks to WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens

Marotta said police were patrolling the beaches in the middle of the night, hours before the waves came.

“They’ve got loudspeakers up and down the street. Every hour the tsunami horns will go off,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 around 6:30 a.m. Boston time.

Tsunamis can travel at speeds of 500 mph, as fast as a jetliner. The warnings are issued due to the imminent threat of a tsunami.

Related: How It Happened

Related: Complete Quake Coverage from CBS News

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (3)
  1. Denise says:

    I hope he’s getting compensated for giving a live broadcast during his vacation that is now (exciting but not what he paid for!) Good luck to him and stay safe!

  2. Lori says:

    I have a high school classmate who is living in Japan. I hope he is okay. I wasn’t close to him but we used to hang out with mutual friends. no word yet on FB from him.

  3. Todd Dunne says:

    Getting compensated? This is CBS now, remember?

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