Bay’s ‘ruth­less’ surge of waves

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - JOEL MAXWELL

The sur­real af­ter­math of Cy­clone Gita saw seen dozens of Ti­tahi Bay’s boat sheds smashed, surfers catch­ing waves among fridges, logs in fish­ing clubs, and a deck chair un­der a con­crete foot­path last week.

Dozens of the colour­ful his­toric sheds, in the north and south of Ti­tahi Bay beach, north of Welling­ton, were dam­aged in what one owner says was a 7-me­tre wall of wa­ter, the likes of which she had never seen be­fore.

On Wednes­day morn­ing about 8.30, Leanne Par­sons dis­cov­ered one of her col­lapsi­ble deck chairs pok­ing out - al­most mag­i­cally - from be­neath the con­crete slabs of the foot­path run­ning in front of the sheds.

There were fridges - in­clud­ing her own - washed out into the bay where surfers were try­ing to catch the post-storm waves, she said.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing’s been lit­er­ally ripped out, and re-de­liv­ered in the tide, and buried as well.’’ Par­sons said

That in­cluded the boat in her shed, which washed up about half a kilo­me­tre to the south.

A few doors down, Ali­son Turner said her part­ner Con­rad Ed­wards headed to the sheds about 1.30am, and found waves blast­ing over top of them.

The doors to the shed were smashed by de­bris and wa­ter had drenched the equip­ment in­side.

It was not the only storm­re­lated dam­age overnight for the cou­ple who live nearby, she said.

‘‘We lost the win­dow in our house as well. We don’t know where it’s gone, it was just sucked out.’’

To the north, the Ti­tahi Bay Fish­ing Club re­ceived an un­wel­come guest overnight, which trig­gered its se­cu­rity alarm.

Lou Web­ster, club mem­ber, was field­ing ques­tions from a fel­low mem­ber ask­ing why there was a log in­side the clu­b­rooms. The log, he said, had smashed through the bot­tom of the shed’s front wall and washed in­side.

‘‘I thought, good, we’ve got some fire­wood.’’

Own­ers were busy on Wednes­day morn­ing sal­vaging be­long­ings from the shore­line, and car­ry­ing sod­den equip­ment out of mul­ti­ple sheds.

They were try­ing to fix dam­aged doors and walls be­fore the next ex­pected high tide around 2pm on Wednes­day.

Across the bay to the south Sarah McDon­ald was stand­ing in front of her shed, owned by three gen­er­a­tions of her fam­ily. They had used an ex­ca­va­tor to clean out logs, sand, and de­bris from in­side the shed.

She said the storm surges were un­like any­thing she had seen be­fore - more like a tsunami than nor­mal waves. The surge had been ex­pected to reach 5 me­tres, she said, but what she saw was more like 7 me­tres.

‘‘They weren’t the nor­mal waves ... a wall of wa­ter, it was ruth­less.’’

The Porirua Li­brary web­site said the cen­tral and north­ern boat sheds were built from 1916 till about 1950. The first per­ma­nent south­ern boat sheds were thought to have been built af­ter 1950.

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