Cyclone season was approaching and we decided that we needed to finish the house we were building and put on the verandah. Although the house was never fully completed it was, for the island of Tanna, in Vanuatu, very luxurious. People used to come just to look at it. Many a discussion was held on whether it would survive a cyclone. We were told that we should move to accommodation that had been proven to stand after a strong wind when the next cyclone came. If the house survived we could stay in it for the next one unless it was predicted to be of a higher strength.
We listened but having built the house ourselves we understood how it was tied from the base up and cyclone proofed and we decided we would prefer to take our chances by staying in it. We did concede by staying in the bathroom but we were so uncomfortable Roger eventually went upstairs to sleep and I stayed downstairs in the lounge room. When Cyclone Sarah (a category 3 hurricane) hit, the house survived the wind without any problem but water came in everywhere. The wind blew the water up the louvres and into the house. The spectacle of the rain being forced horizontally through the solid wood front door was something that we had not been expecting.
Although our house survived our storage shed did not. Neither did the wharf and from that time on supplies came in by dinghy.
©irene waters 2013