Tahiti Tsunami experience: Part 2

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on March 28, 2011 in Anecdote, Nature, Travel |
Okay, so sorry to leave you in suspense for so long…where did I leave off? Right, right…French Polynesia, island of Moorea, tsunami sirens blaring in the wee hours of the morning. The hubby and I throw on some clothes (I remember to put on a bra, but totally forget about undies!) and grab the essentials: passports, a large bottle of water, medication, and some peanut-butter crackers (a pregnant lady needs her snacks).
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 freakoutlike 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.

The only indication we ever get that an actual tsunami hit us (I think we technically got two tsunami “waves”) was when the water level in the lagoon went down just enough for some coral too poke out of the surface. A group of self-proclaimed geologists were sitting near us and they got all excited when this happened and starting documenting it all on their camcorders.

(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.

But there are still a lot of people suffering from the aftereffects of the earthquake in Japan. And that is why I’ve decided to donate $1 to the Red Crossfor every person who comments on this blog post (up to $100). Thanks in advance to everyone who comments…I really hope to reach the maximum!

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  • twin-not-twin says:

    Great idea Katie – I hope you get lots of traffic and reach your goal. In fact, I may send out a few e-mails with a link to your blog…

  • Lagomorph says:

    Nothing like going commando during an emergency!

  • amy says:

    Underwear should ALWAYS be optional! Good work KT and good luck!

  • Kelly Hashway says:

    That's great that you're doing this. I hope you reach 100 comments.

  • Kimberly Sabatini says:

    What a wonderful cause!!!! Here is my $1. Can't wait to see you in the Poconos too!!!!

  • Bill Carroll says:

    Oh those self proclaimed geologists… Of all the areas of fake expertise they could have chosen they went with geologist. What a poor fake career choice.

  • JLD says:

    So glad you are safe, but what a thrilling story to tell your child someday! Every time he/she comes home with a scraped knee or hurt feelings, you'll be able to say, "Kid, you survived a tsunami-you can survive this."

    Maybe leave out the part about the underpants. Kids tend to get a little queasy when their mom talks about her underpants in any way.

    Good luck reaching 100 posts!


  • Jennifer R. Hubbard says:

    Came over here from Kim Sabatini's blog. Commenting for the cause!

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    Thanks to everyone who commented!

    I just knew that people would latch onto the whole underwear thing…at least I wasn't caught wearing dirty underwear.

  • Jean Reidy says:

    Incredible! Thanks for doing this.

  • Ani Louise says:

    Sounds like it was a scary experience, even if it all turned out ok in the end. Glad you're safe. Thanks for sharing your story. Hope you get 100 comments!

  • Anne M Leone says:

    Wow, what an experience! Glad you're safe!

  • Wonky says:

    What an amazing experience! Good luck with this.

  • Diana Murray says:

    Thanks, Katie! My thoughts are with Japan…

    -Diana (bb'er)

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    Thanks again everyone! I'm keeping the commenting period open for a little while longer, so keep sending people my way please.

  • Debby says:

    I was a little worried when your dad woke me up and told me there was a tsunami heading your way. So what's a mother to do? I went back to bed for my beauty sleep. Although, I was relieved when I got your e-mail and knew that you were safe.

  • Ghost Girl (aka, Mary Ann) says:

    This is awesome, Katie! Glad you manage to escape disaster and praying for Japan in the days to come.

    Oh yeah…Go Commando, baby!

  • Katie L. Carroll (KT) says:

    I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who commented and give you an update. I ended up rounding up and donated $25.

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