Monday, March 23, 2009

Ten years later - Tropical Cyclone Vance 22 March, 1999

Yesterday was the Ten Year Anniversary of when Exmouth got clobbered by Tropical Cyclone Vance, one of the strongest storms to ever hit the Australian mainland.

Dave and I had just moved up to Exmouth from Coral Bay. In fact, Dave and the boys were still living in Coral Bay and I was living in a room out at the base as our house hadn't settled yet. Turned out to be a very good thing as I literally watched pieces of the house we were buying fly off into the distance during the cyclone! I stayed in town at a friend's house with Diva as the hotel owner would not let her stay with us at the base, despite authorisation from the Base Commander for the exception (no dogs are allowed on base normally) while Dave and the kids stayed in the hotel there.

It was a wild event, for sure. I don't think either Dave or I will stay in town for another Category 5. No one was hurt or killed in this storm but there was tons of property damage, the utilities were down, there was no water and many people were evacuated. We finally rebuilt and reopened the dive shop, but it took months. During the process, I moved to Coral Bay to run our operation there while Dave stayed in Exmouth to oversee the rebuilding of Exmouth Diving Centre. It was a tough, long haul. Had I been more organized this year, I would have some photos to share LOL

Yesterday Exmouth held a commemorative event to dedicate a plaque and to celebrate our recovery. The Shire Hall had exhibits of photographs, art work and personal testimonies from those who were here. They also showed a compilation of the news coverage.

There was a pretty good turnout, including quite a few who hadn't been here for Vance.

Doreen Blum gave a nice speech to kick off the event

Local media turned up

Mrs Mac, a beloved long-time Exmouth resident, took a moment to reflect

Ned was the official unveiler

And many residents took the time to stop and read the dedication & share their stories

I never did get a t-shirt...

We're still in cyclone season for a while yet, but so far - fingers crossed - it's been a pretty uneventful year for us. And we hope it stays that way!


Anonymous said...

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Kristin said...

Thanks, Joannah! I look forward to more comments from you :)