March 11, 2011 Fanning Island Tsunami Effects

John & Joan Hanson, on March 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm said:
My wife and I had an opportunity to visit Fanning Island aboard the MS Rotterdam cruise (11/22-12/22). With all of the recent news coming out of Japan and what we learned about Fanning Island does anyone have any news of the people regarding their situation following the tsunami?

To all concerned, this is an email from a resident on Fanning about what happened during the March 11 2011 Tsunami:

The tsunami hit Fanning in the early hours of Sunday(our time) we were expecting something at about 4.00 am from reports we gathered from a sailing vessel that was in port at the time. The crew of this vessel notified the police chief at about midnight Saturday 12 March. The police then contacted Bruno De la la for more confirmation of this report, that is when Bruno informed me at 1.00 am to confirm this. We checked our sailmail and found that there was a warning from Rich Smith in Hawaii informing us of the tsunami and that it would hit Hawaii at around 2.59 am. Bruno then offered to accommodate my family in his house as he has 2 double story building’s and probably these are the highest you can get here,unless you climb up the breadfruit tree’s or coconut tree’s in the rain and wind which was also blowing at around 20 to 30 knot’s that night. My family decided to take Bruno’s offer of shelter at 3.00 am, I stayed at home to secure whatever need to be, just in case something did happen. At around 4.00 pm I went to the ocean side of the island of Weston point to see if there was any change in the sea level it was quite hard to tell as the tide was low at the time. At 5.00 am I decided that by now the tsunami had passed and we returned home. My vhf radio was on channel 16 and 72 for any further updates from the sailing vessel in port, which had also moved out of the lagoon upon receiving the tsunami warning. In port also was a local freighter that remained at anchor in the lagoon during this period. At around 6.00 am I could hear chatter on channel 16 from this local freighter I could not understand what they were saying as it was in chinese but they did seem panicky at the time.(chinese officers) That is when the tsunami had reached Fanning. The water in the lagoon was being sucked out of the channel at great speed causing the freighter to touch bottom at it’s anchorage and to list on one side. This happened several times during the early morning of Sunday. Also during this surge the seaweed farm’s from Torea Torea point to Putatu point suffered considerable damage, this area had mile’s and mile’s of seaweed patches which were washed out into the lagoon and probably out the channel. Now there is nothing there but clear patches of sand where before it was just seaweed cultivations. That morning people were saving as much seaweed as they could and were on the beach hauling seaweed ashore then all of a sudden the water would be gone this caused the people to move further out to collect then suddenly the water would start rushing back and these people would drop what they were doing and start running back to the beach. This happened for most of the Sunday morning. The rainy season we have now is not helping in the drying of this seaweed which could cost thousand’s of dollars for the farmers. No lives were lost or hurt during this period,this is first time that we have felt the wave’s damage and force compared to other tsunami warning in the past. Tekeraoi,Tyrone