I woke in the middle of the night to a pounding on Swell’s hull. I shook myself from a dream and looked up at the clock. It was 3 am. “Who the heck drops by for a visit at this hour?” I thought.
I peered over the side and saw Taputu standing below with a flashlight.
“Sorry to wake you,” he said quickly in French. “But there is a tsunami coming. It’s supposed to arrive at 6 in the morning.”
“Quoi?” I replied in shock, rubbing my eyes.
“Tsunami,” he repeated. “Go to Simona’s house and drive with her up on the mountain. I’m going to tell the other boats.” His light shrunk as he disappeared across the yard.
Tsunami? Come on, really? I couldn’t believe it…but soon the lights of other boats flickered on and my phone began to ring…It was true!? A severe tsunami warning had been issued for the entire Pacific!? For the second time in less than 2 months, I packed up a survival bag with my passport and a few precious items, secured Swell as best possible, and wandered down the road to Simona’s house.
We drove up onto the mountain overlooking the lagoon and waited…and waited…breath fogged windows but opening them meant an instant invasion of mutant mountain mosquitos. We opted for recycled breath. By 8 am the local radio declared that the wave had passed through the Marquesas at less than 30 centimeters, so we thought it safe to descend to sea level. Thankfully, all that the ‘great wave’ washed away was any chance of a normal Saturday as I crumpled into a wad on my bunk and shut my eyes at 9am.
I rolled over at 9:45am, hoping that Mike would have had read my mind and postponed our appointment for ‘Mike vs. Swell’s Shaft Tube: Challenge 2010’. But no, the lively Hollywood director rolled onto the ‘Swell scene’ right on time. I was just about to douse myself in the hose when he came bounding through the gate…I didn’t get my rinse. Instead, moments later, Mike had me running about the yard in search of scraps of wood and metal that would work to brace the jack.
Tick…tock…tick…tock…he would give exactly two hours of his time…it was like some sort of twisted scavenger hunt. I was exhausted, sweaty, and hungry while searching for two pieces of wood 5” by 2 ½” under the blaring tropical sun?!…I thought I might throw up.
The clock struck noon and we’d only just finished fitting out the mish mash of metal and wood scraps to support the jack against the fiberglass bulkhead behind the v-drive…but just then, a 6’2” Canadian appeared on the scene…