Well, by the time the warning got to Aitutaki, the wave had passed! Our warning came via the parental telegraph in Fiji, and by the time we had looked up the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre website, we found that the initial wave was due to arrive….20 min ago. Thankfully, our wave turned out to be small. I discussed it with a neighbour as I cut his hair (!) and he was alerting some of his guests who were swimming in the lagoon as the wave arrived. He estimated it at 40-50cm inside the lagoon. The guest reported herself rising with the wave (which you don’t get inside the lagoon proper). We waited a while at home (in our stilt house), then when that got too nerve wracking we went for a drive up to the lookout (2nd highest point on the island). About a dozen locals and tourists drifted in and out and everyone eventually drifted home. There was no coordinated effort. Everyone I spoke to had got their info from foreign websites. If it had been any bigger, well …the Pacific Mini Games has the islands chocka-block, the sailing competition is on the lagoon, the lagoon tours had all departed…
All in all a freaky thing – I’m glad we got off so lightly, unlike our Pacific neighbours. The mind boggles to think about getting caught up in something so terrible.
Here are some pictures of the Tsunami effect in
Kia Manuia (Good Luck)