Wednesday, October 07, 2009

shakin, rattlin, but still rollin

October 8, 2009

Thursday here, Wednesday back home in Victoria! The rain had passed in the night, washing the decks off for us. So we dragged the dinghy up on the beach and started walking up the hot dusty road to the highway. We were soon offered a lift by the young local Coca-Cola rep. As he turned South at the highway, we flagged down a bus into Lautoka and while making our way from the market to an internet café, we were told by a scruffy looking individual on the street that a 'tsunami' warning had just gone into effect for Fiji. Ignoring him at first, we quickly realized there was something different about the rhythm of the town. Shops were closing down, lots of people on the streets, traffic jams. We were in the grocery store and soon realized that the warning was for real. I told Linda to abandon the cart and we flagged a taxi in front of the store. The radio was blaring with the news that an earthquake in Vanuatu, just 500 miles West of Fiji, had occurred below the sea and was expected to generate a tsunami wave striking the West coast of Fiji within an hour. The taxi crawled along as everyone tried to head for higher ground. Schools were closed and children bussed to safe locations. The wave was forecast to be as high as 8 meters! We had left the hatches open on Toketie and some portholes and were anchored in a shallow bay on the West side of Viti Levu, one of the most exposed and vulnerable coasts in this case. By the time the taxi was free of the town and the traffic jam, there was only 10 minutes left till the wave was expected to arrive on the shores of Fiji. Going down to the boat at this point would be too risky so we got out at a gas station on the highway overlooking the bay. We could not see Toketie from here but had a clear view to the West where a wave was expected to appear any minute now. An hour later, nothing had happened and the alert was canceled. We walked down to the beach and gratefully retrieved our dinghy from the beach and went home.glad to be safe and still have a boat.
Never a dull moment when you live on the edge.of the world!

1 comment:

Annoe said...

Thank goodness nothing materialized. A great big YEAH, from the great white north.
Barry and Ann