We have a number of friends who are cruising in the South Pacific and have been watching with concern to ascertain their whereabouts after the recent Tsunami in Samoa. Fortunately all our immediate friends are safe and well but there have been some terrible stories and reports from the worse affected area, even loss of life.
I think one of the biggest surprises to me has been to read of the ignorance of many cruisers of the potential after effects of an earthquake, you can read on this site how many cruisers joked about a 'big wave ' coming ...
We had a fairly substantial quake when in Belize earlier this year. My first thought was tsunami.
Although we were well behind a reef and a land spit I insisted that we close all the hatches, securing both the boat and ourselves. At the time I felt a bit daft, sitting sweltering below but in the light of what I have been reading over the past week it wasn't at all stupid.
I am constantly amazed at how ill informed cruisers are about the effects of 'Mother Nature' in the raw. Casualness cost lives. As TBH says the only word to describe the sea is 'treacherous'.
This photograph from Cruising World accompanies an informative piece on the devastation amongst the cruising community in the Pacific.