Yup, another repost, but I had to make sure you got the rest of the story from last week. And next week, look for some new content here on the Observation Desk. So here’s the rest of the Tahiti tsunami story (telling this story always makes me want to give it a really cheesy, reality TV subtitle like “When Vacations Go Bad”).
On the way to the lobby we hear some people talking about taking a car up to Belvedere Point. Given the high-stress situation, I managed to refrain from laughing at them, but going to Belvedere Point would have been some serious overkill. Even if we had gotten a tsunami anywhere close to as big as the one that hit Japan, we wouldn’t have needed to go to one of the highest points on the island.
(This is the view from Belvedere Point. Way higher and farther from the water than necessary. When we had talked to the manager the night before, he had said worse-case-scenario, we would have to go up the resort driveway to the road.)
In the lobby, the manager makes an announcement that a tsunami is expected to hit about 6:00 a.m. and that all guests must go to the restaurant area. They don’t specifically say it, but we get the impression that it’s more precautionary than anything else, although some guests are starting to look very nervous. (Apparently, they didn’t have the luxury of a prealarm freakout like I had!)
We are actually allowed to go back to the room where we stow our luggage as far up in the closet as possible (just in case). We pack all our valuable electronics and some books and stuff in our backpacks (I still haven’t realized I’m not wearing any underwear) and head to the restaurant.
The next several hours are…well…pretty boring. I stare at the water, trying to detect any kind of measurable change, for so long that my eyes start to hurt. The resort staff gets the breakfast buffet ready as quickly as they can given that it’s still early enough that breakfast wouldn’t have normally started yet.
(That stuff sticking out of the water to the right of the palm tree is the coral that normally is under water. That was our only visual cue that we were in the middle of a tsunami.)
By about 9:30 a.m. the warning was over and we all got to go about our day in tropical paradise (and I finally get to put on some underwear!). So, like I said in the last post, it was a lot of build-up with little payoff thankfully. I’m okay with having experienced a tsunami measured in inches instead of feet.