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Hey pheft do you know this guy?
Either lucky or smart. Either way this teacher passed the test.

Tuesday, January 4, 2005 ยท Last updated 6:08 p.m. PT

Kayaker recognized coming tsunami, survived


BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- When the water began rushing away from beaches across south Asian coastlines, thousands of people stood and watched - wondering what was happening.

Bob Kandiko knew.

An earth sciences teacher in Ferndale, north of here, Kandiko recognized the fast-receding tide as a sign of an impending tsunami.

He and fellow Whatcom County teacher Karen Neubauer, along with Kandiko's 23-year-old niece, were kayaking off the coast of Thailand on Dec. 26 when they saw water pulling away from a secluded cove. They began paddling furiously out to sea.

"If we would have been in that cove, it would have been like a blender, the way that wave circled back and collided on itself," Kandiko said. "There wasn't any beach left when it swept in."

The three floated in deep water for hours, watching the increasingly bigger waves pound the coastline and rip out trees. The tsunamis killed an estimated 150,000 people and left 5 million in need.

"The beaches would disappear and reappear as the water continued to rise and fall around us," he said.

The trio made their way up the coast in humid, 90-degree heat and worried about heat exhaustion. Fighting a fast-retreating tide with the help of adrenaline, they paddled to shore and managed to haul their kayaks well inland. They collected their passports, food and water and scampered even farther inland, past pools of seawater with flopping fish, before the next wave hit.

Kandiko and Neubauer, a teacher of developmentally disabled young adults for the Bellingham School District's Community Transitions Program, returned home Sunday to the intense relief of their friends - some of whom had feared them dead. In Indiana, the family of Kandiko's niece, Cammy, had held candlelight vigils for her.

It wasn't until days after the tsunamis - when they stopped at a resort with cable TV - that the kayakers learned the extent of the disaster.

"We had no awareness we were even thought to be dead," Kandiko said. "We were quite happy paddling around. We had no idea 100,000 people had died."

Kandiko, a 23-year science teacher, had a vivid lesson for his students when he returned to Horizon Middle School on Monday.

"This is obviously going to be a story that adds another dimension," he said.