October 1, 2009

The earthquake near Samoa and resulting tsunami has me thinking.  We stopped at Niuatoputapu for a few days in 2003, and thoroughly enjoyed this very out-of-the-way island with friendly people, beautiful singing and a placid way of life.    Now, the news says, they’ve experienced a four-meter-high tsunami wave that has wiped out two of their three towns, 10 people are dead (out of a population of 1000), their telephone service is gone, their health clinic is gone, the airstrip is unusable, the government buildings are gone …  It does make me want to figure out how I can help.  It’s interesting how the instinct to help is so much more pronounced when you have been to a place, or you know people who are affected.

I’m also wondering how the cruising sailboats in Samoa and Tonga fared.  It cannot have been good to have been anchored in any of the harbors affected by the tsunami.  When we anchored in the Pago Pago Harbor (American Samoa), the holding was not good – strong winds, and a bottom that seemed to consist entirely of discarded plastic bags.  I think any anchored boats would have been flung up onto the shore.


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