The above report from TV New Zealand is the best I’ve found this morning about yesterday’s earthquake (reported as being between 7.9 and 8.3 in magnitude) and the resulting tsunami that has killed at least 100 people on Samoa and American Samoa. While the situation in those islands is of course tragic, I am relieved this morning to report that the yachts and crew in surrounding islands popular for charter appear to have been spared the worst of the devastation.
Capt. Andy Grocott of the 112-foot Alloy motoryacht VvS1 told broker Rebecca Riley of Paradise Yacht Charters via e-mail from New Zealand that the island nation, which was under tsunami warning, saw “a decent surge from the waves” but no damage nearly as serious as what the Samoan islands experienced. Broker Cindy Brown of UltraMarine posted to her Twitter feed this morning that she has heard from the 108-foot motoryacht Askari, which also is now safely at anchor in the region.
I am still awaiting word from the crew aboard the 86-foot powercatamaran Bel’Mare, which is based in Fiji. News reports from Fiji this morning indicate that there was no real impact on those islands. (Oct. 1 update: Bel’Mare has checked in. All is well.) I am also staying in touch with Auckland-based management company 37 South, which so far reports no damage to the charter yachts in its fleet or loss of life to any crew.
Meanwhile, less than an hour ago, another quake with a 7.6 magnitude struck off the coast of Sumatra, triggering a tsunami warning for popular charter locations including Indonesia and Thailand. Thankfully, that tsunami warning already has been canceled, with experts saying the wave generated was less than a foot tall.