Tsunami waves were expected to arrive in the Bay Area this morning following an 8.9-magnitude earthquake that struck off the northeast coast of Japan on Thursday night.
"I thought if something cool was going to happen, now was the time to see it," said Karen J. Malesky, a science teacher who lives in Palmetto, Florida.
"I came out for the National Science Teachers Association conference, and this is the first time I've seen the Pacific since I arrived," Malesky said.
Residents living in San Francisco had relatives calling from other parts of the country to make sure they were all right.
"I got a text message this morning at 7 a.m. from family in Ohio that said, 'Have you heard anything? Are you okay?'" said Tom Riedel, who lives in the city's Bernal Heights neighborhood. "They told me to take a video."
About 30 observers sat on a grassy hill near the intersection, and witnesses said surf along Ocean Beach only looked slightly above normal.