Cyclone ‘Oli’: thanks be to LAND
I couldn’t imagine how strong it was going to get as Simona and I finished taping the windows and bringing all the tables and chairs inside. As the gusts soared into the 40s, we gathered the last of the fallen mangos and prepared the boards to put in front of the doors should the waves wash up to the house.
And then all we could do was wait it out.
I played legos and puzzles with, Franchesco, who at 3 years-old, seemed thrilled that we’d all be staying home that day. The wind grew stronger and from where we sat in the living room, I could see the top of Swell’s mast out the window, trembling among the others. All day I watched her mast. Soon the chaos began. The wind was up over 50 knots, gusting to 60. The sound alone was terrifying. Storm waves began to wash across the road. The power line tower fell in the neighbor’s yard. And Oli raged on relentlessly with a force I’d never known.
Before darkness fell, I ventured out to check Swell and have a look at the sea. Waves were already washing under her and I feared it could rip the supports out from underneath her. My heart pounded as I leaned against the wind, running quickly between things that could fall on me. Debris whipped and flew by through the air. I arrived at the jetty to see all the boats in the marina heeled over at 40 degrees with the force of the wind. The lagoon had risen nearly 3-4 feet and waves were washing over the jetty into the marina then sucking out at its mouth to become a standing wave and whirlpool at the entrance. I didn’t stay long. The gusts were getting stronger and I feared being hit by falling debris.
It got stronger into the night. It felt as if the whole island were trembling. I tossed and turned, unable to sleep, full of guilt that I was in a stable dry bed, while my friends out there being tossed and tormented on the sea. Never had I felt so grateful to be on land.