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26 October 2010

Tsunam... er, not so much

(Portside, Le Port, Reunion, 4:30 AM local time, 26 Oc 2010)

indistinct voice: 'allo?

...silence onboard WT...

indistinct voice, louder: 'allo?

...continued silence onboard WT...

voice, no longer indistince: 'ALLO!

...loud knocking on boat...

...with that, seemingly as one, the crew finally appear from their cabins and clamber on deck to be greeted by port security... who attempt to describe, in a mix of English and French, some event that's happening. After some interpretation, it seems the port is under tsunami warning, and there's already been damage down the coast at St. Pierre. We are to "remain vigilant" and check our lines and fenders.

With 'Net access spotty, we make a quick call to the States for some more info. It seems there was an earthquake off Indonesia, and the Pacific Tsunami Warning network had issued, and later canceled, a tsunami watch, but local authorities were keeping an eye on things - there had been around a 1-1.5 meter surge about 3 AM which caused damage elsewhere on the island.

The WARC fleet, used to varying tidal swings, had rigged their docklines well, and snugly protected in our inner harbor, had all happily slept through the first event. We all re-checked lines and fenders, though, having been warned by the harbormaster that there could be more surges (there were significant aftershocks to the quake.)

Some folks did observe, about an hour after our wakeup call, definite odd swirls in the water, sudden small movements of the boats, and a noticeable drift to the bits of flotsam in the water along the boats - yes, that was our aftershock tsunami! Everyone should be so lucky.

After a bit more chatting on the quay, with all secure, the boat crews (having compared each other's pajama styles - there was one theory tossed around that it was all just a local gag to see what women sailors use for PJs) wandered back to bed for a bit more sleep before our day of working on boats and exploring Reunion.

Another day on the World ARC!