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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Phuket - Tsunami 2012

Tsunami warning.Yacht Haven Marina residents and boat owners as well as
people from the near by villages on high groun overlooking the marina
 trying to get some-any updates on their phones and computers.
11th April 2012 4.30pm
We are safe and sound back on the boat now that the tsunami warning has been lifted.
This has been an interesting experience indeed. It was an incredibly hot day in Phuket and we just got back to the marina from a short shopping trip still with the shopping bags in our arms when we got news of the earthquake and were told that the earthquake was 8.9 and in the wrong part of the world for us.
The phone lines were "dead" at this stage so there was no way of finding out if there was tsunami warning and how fast will it reach us.
Priority at this stage was to get to the boat get our documents phones ipad money tie the up the boat and Apsara with extra lines and make our way to high ground which was near by as the marina is situated some 50m below road level. It still takes time to get up there. By the time we got most of our things together and were ready to leave Sara the marina manager has already reached us with quick request to leave and head for higher ground she also said that the position of the earthquake will not give the marina as much protection as it had during 2004.  We decided to quickly reposition the fenders around the boat and disconnect all the power for us as well as eighbouring boats. Robert attended to this while I took all our things into our car and got it moving. Marina started to move out with people like us grabbing the necessary and leaving. There was a bus of tourists that has just arrived for the afternoon pleasure cruise.
We both made it to higher ground where we had a great view and were hopefully safe. Really we had no idea. The updates were sparse and most came on the phone from our friend Barrie who was in Kamala. After the important calls to family we decided to have a swim in the pool about 10 m from where our car was (and why not) that is when we got the news of Tsunami warning and approx time of 5.30pm. At this stage the beaches of Phuket were being evacuated and most Tsunami sirens on. We didn't hear any. There were still people around not knowing what was happening at all. I ran into this lady in the pool shower who was with two young girls and I asked if she knew she nodded her head and later had no idea. She said she had water in her ears and could not hear. It actually would be really easy not to know anything of the impending tsuanami or earthquakes. That is why we always ask that if you hear something call us please.
We had some reports that one of the bays near by has emptied of water which is a precursor to tsunami. A call from Kamala told us that it was a small wave and that is was a horizontal quake which should produce minimal damage it is the vertical ones like 2004 that cause huge damage.
Now we know that the earthquake was 32km under the sea and the smaller that number the slower the tsunami eg 20m water depth= tsunami of 50km/hr 900m depth=340km/hr and 5500m depth=835km/hr (we are getting educated now as a result of the experience). Nothing happened where we were that is apart from the shaking and sun setting on the side where it should rise so I guess the question is where will it rise tomorrow?
Some from the neighbouring muslim village clearly quite concerned.
Maybe they have experienced it before.The situation is shifting
 somewhat now.As we have been waiting a while nowwith nothing
 happening there was this woman who arrived on a bike
and started shouting in Thai and waving her hands as to show
 that where we are is not high enough.How does one know i ask?
Those who could understand started moving.

At the end we waited until dark when the Tsunami alert got called off.
Thankfully the only thing that was rather different was the sun
 setting on the other side where it should be rising...hmmm
No not an illusion or reflection...we will settle for... hmmm.
A young girl(from the shower) on the left looking anxiously for her parents
 who are paid crew on one of the boats. She was crying and distressed.

Marina residents waiting with anticipation if their "homes" will be safe
Some having rum and coke...
Tremors are felt here now. The car that you see was shaking .

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