The first we heard about the tsunami was in emails from Leon and Ricky (thanks guys), Laura’s brothers, that we downloaded very soon after they sent them. Our New Caledonia weather report, downloaded at the same time, said nothing about a tsunami. As we brought up our anchor in Ilot Tenia some minutes later, Radio Noumea broadcast a tsunami warning in French and English — we never heard them use English before. They said a tsunami wave was going to hit New Caledonia at 9:16 am. It was 9:05 am when we heard this. The warning suggested that all ships stay away from the coast. It was thus good timing that our anchor was just raised and we were underway at the time. We headed out into the Baie de St. Vincent since that brought us into a fairly wide body of water with no hazards nearby. We knew that any tsunami coming from Samoa would hit the other side of Grande Terre so it was highly unlikely that we would experience anything where we were. Yet, after the Indian Ocean tsunami of a few years ago, a specific warning of a tsunami wave 11 minutes away got our attention.
At about 10 am, Radio Noumea annulled the warning. On our side of the island, we never saw anything untoward. We called “Intiaq” on the cell phone. They are about 100 miles away in Ile de Pines, which is much more exposed to ocean waves coming from the northeast. They were underway as well and said that saw nothing that looked like a tsunami. We have not heard if there was any damage on the northeast coast of Grande Terre on in the Loyalties, or, for that matter, anywhere else, as we have no access to general news.
Anyway we are safely anchored off of Ile Ronhua in moderate tradewind conditions and about to have our lunch.