Bay’s ‘ruthless’ surge of waves
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.