Tornado Calling

On January the 28th a tornado hit and swept through the Caribbean briefly hitting Mexico but smashing Cuba with destructive force. The strongest in nearly 80 years devastating the capital. I was currently on an Island in Mexico and wanted to appreciate nature in her glory.

Promptly filled with adrenaline I knew instantly something big was coming. I took my camera and instantly ran to the beach. I was met with water at my stealthy feet as I turned the corner of my hostel, and stepped eagerly out onto a main road connecting to the beach. It was running past me and ahead I started seeing the kayaks moving off the beach. As I got to the top of the street, the water was already shin deep and the kayaks had now started floating down the once sandy street.

I had to keep my head down as the relentless rain was too much for my face. If I had taken goggles I may of been able to merely see. I vainly tried to take photographs but I couldn’t take the time to focus or carefully frame; I just shot. I ran around places of the beach trying to snap away. The waves were over a metre high and an island that’s water comes barely above your ankle for the most part it was impressive.

As it got stronger I became more aware of my surroundings, the blasted trees, coconuts, floating wood and deck chairs. The unmistakable sounds of the tin roofs clapping the mighty storm as she crashed the beach.

I recall running to the pier to see it raise and float away. I saw two local men trying to haul a boat in. I captured a few photos and desperately wanted to capture more but morales kicked in and the overriding need to unquestionably help them took over. I sat my camera down on the beach bar anxiously hoping it wouldn’t disappear. I took the rope and pulled with all my mite. My feet sank in the ocean bed as the waves crashed against us.  From nowhere like a movie scene, Gabbo came from my right and grabbed hold and then another human. We managed to get it under some control and heaved it in enough to tie securely. There was still more to bring in. Across the beach you could recognise others doing the same as they were protecting their lively hood. To me the adrenaline rush felt overwhelming. I managed to walk one street before turning back. It was better for me to stay with familiar people at this point. The water had pretty much reached and taken over the other side of the island.

Two devoted friends to their passion had impulsively decided the were going to ride the waves. Trusting each other with their lives everything seemed to stop for a moment as things got serious. Johnny took a 7 kite and gabby with the surf board a 4. As I assisted them keeping the lines straight and holding the kite down as the prepared to face the superior force. When they were ready, I ran out with the boards one by one assisting them over with water up to armpits right at the beach. As Johnny would have his feet secured in, I had concern for Gabbo who took the surf board. As he road off into the waves it whipped him super quick across the open water. At the start I ran some length of the beach in an attempt to keep him in sight for the beginning moments.

They rode for 2 hours and survived the point break.

As daylight broke the following morning I was up and prepared again. Navigating more than two streets was going to be undoubtedly a slow step by step with the un certainty of what now lies beneath. As I made my way to the beach fish and small sting rays swam past me.

There was a beautiful calm. The sun was radiant and glistening, the water was calm, still and at low tide. The birds picking off what lay beached and the earth had moved. Where things in the past were, they were now consumed by sand or lifted by the wind. 

Items that were rescued were returned, anything seriously hazardous moved but it was business as usual. Locals fixed their way of life, tourists sat and drank coffee.

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