When dis­as­ter hits on wa­ter

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

When dis­as­ter strikes, panic!

At 2.10am, just a cou­ple of hours af­ter the 7.8 mag­ni­tude Kaik­oura earth­quake on Novem­ber 14, we got a phone call from Peter, the ma­rina man­ager, telling us to be pre­pared in case there was a tsunami warn­ing.

‘‘Pre­pared for what?’’, I screamed at Dean, my part­ner. In a dis­as­ter, I panic - he goes quiet.

We had felt the earth­quake, al­though noth­ing like those on land.

Our 46-foot yacht had jerked side­ways and wo­ken us up. ‘‘Bloody wind,’’ said Dean. There was no wind. We got out of bed. I shoved my puffer jacket over my py­ja­mas and put my sun­glasses on my head (what?), then put our dog’s life­jacket on her.

She stared at me – I’m not sure if she was scared or re­ally wanted to pee.

Then we heard the wa­ter rush. It sounded like river rapids. Some­thing se­ri­ous was go­ing on, tsunami warn­ing or not.

Our boat is tied to a pier by six ropes. The pier (and us) slides up and down on poles, with the tide.

The worst that could hap­pen is that a tsunami could lift us and the pier three or four me­tres over the poles.

We’d have our­selves a lit­tle bumper boat party.

I re­mem­bered the words of a salty old yachtie who used to live at the ma­rina.

He said the safest place to be in a tsunami is out at sea.

But that Novem­ber night, Dean de­cided it would be fun to run down the end of the pier and watch all the pretty wa­ter go by.

The cap­tain had aban­doned the ship and its crew!

As I was get­ting our marine grab-bag out of its cubby hole (it’s com­plete with sea­sick ta­bles and a fish­ing line – not so handy for land) Dean came back.

He con­vinced me that ev­ery­thing was go­ing to be okay and that we should leave to find other boat peo­ple.

We gath­ered on the grass by the laun­dry, tex­ting loved ones on land and feel­ing quite chuffed.

Some­one men­tioned how many peo­ple liv­ing at mari­nas had been killed dur­ing the tsunami in Ja­pan.

And then some­one said that if there had been an of­fi­cial tsunami warn­ing, the safest thing to do would be to leave the boat and head to higher ground.

Af­ter the Solomon Is­lands earth­quake on De­cem­ber 9, we did re­ceive an of­fi­cial tsunami warn­ing.

Dean was in a plane, fly­ing to Nel­son to sail a boat back.

I quickly got the strangest land

It sounded like river rapids. Some­thing se­ri­ous was go­ing on, tsunami warn­ing or not.

grab-bag to­gether (tof­fee pops, writ­ing jour­nal, dog life­jacket – I was just not think­ing straight), turned off the gas at the bot­tle, and shut all the hatches.

I ran down to the end of the pier and asked Peter what he was go­ing to do.

He was stay­ing put be­cause some­one had gone fish­ing out on the break­wa­ter wall and Peter wanted to make sure they’d heard the news.

I de­cided to drive to a hill­top nearby in Cam­borne.

I put my use­less grab-bag and the dog in the car, but some­thing didn’t feel right.

I walked back into Peter’s of­fice and made a cup of tea.

‘‘I’m stay­ing with you,’’ I said to him.

The tsunami warn­ing was can­celled and as I picked out a dead ant out from my cup of tea in the grotty ma­rina of­fice, I re­alised what I was go­ing to do in the next dis­as­ter: stay with my peo­ple, stay with my com­mu­nity and we’d all get through it to­gether.

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