Moving Sea and an Evacuation
Trip Start Dec 26, 2003
94Trip End Mar 28, 2005
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I was swimming in the sea with my friend, Simon, when he asked me if I felt like we had moved 20m from where we had just been. In the sea was a rock that I used as a marker to gauge where we were and where we had just been.
"You're right," I agreed with him.
It was only much later that day that I was to see a tv with the news of the tsunami which explained why the sea in Goa was doing odd things, but was far, far less affected than many other parts of Asia.
That same night, we were sitting in the pub having a beer & watching some football when Simon, who had left us, returning exclaiming about the panic coming from the beach. The tide, which had been bouncing around fairly gently all day, had come up and over the floorboards of a few of the restaurants that had fronts that protruded onto the beach.
At the time, we weren't exactly aware of how far the sea had come up and exaggerations and misinformation abounded.
The scene was one of general panic and over-reaction. People were running up the road from the impending doom, local women were crying and people were jumping into whatever transport they had or could find and driving aggressively away from the sea. I observed that we were much more likely to be killed or injured by one of the many lunatic drivers charging around at high speed than by the sea.
I wanted to go & have a look at what the sea front was like to gauge the situation for myself, but my friends just wanted to take a safety first approach and get away from the shore. As the last thing I wanted was to get split up from my friends, so I went with their approach.
We walked about 3 or 4kms inland to the nearby village of Chowdi, where the local church was putting up people in a couple of school classrooms. After all the misinformation, the local priest offered a voice of reason, "Don't worry, it is just a bit of high tide. Sleep here tonight & everything will be fine when you return to Palolem in the morning."
This is what we did and he was dead right. In Goa, unlike much of Asia, it was all a storm in a teacup.