After today I guess it is true what they say, misery loves company. In the span of 24 tragic hours two of surfing's most prized destinations have suffered the wrath of our temperamental planet.
In the early morning hours of September 29th an 8.3 earthquake struck off the coast off of Samoa, inducing a tsunami that has caused untold destruction and taken well over 100 lives on American Samoa and nearby Tonga. It is also being reported that the Salani Surf Resort has been washed clean off the face of the earth. Thankfully, no guests were lost. Resort managers Nick and Triona O'Neill apparently deserve a medal of honor for the countless lives they helped save when they observed the ocean water drawing off the reef shortly after the quake. They alerted the villagers of the possibility of an impending tsunami and led a procession to higher, safer, ground.
Coincidentally, Sean Murphy of Waterways Surf Travel, who is also one of the owners of the Salani Resort, was in Indonesia when a 7.6 earthquake hit no more than 18 hours later. The quake's epicenter was located less than 50 miles from Padang, the capital of West Sumatra and typical jumping off point for most all Mentawai boat trips. Details coming out of the port city are sketchy at this point. Early reports are putting the death toll well over 1,000, but it's still hard to figure out what's happening on the ground. Initial word out of the Mentawais is that the land camps and local villages were unscathed.
It's going to take some time before we see a clearer picture of what's happened and realize the sad impact of these two natural disasters. Our hearts and best wishes go out to everybody who is dealing with these tragedies.
As more information comes to light we will bring you the details, but in the meantime here's some links that will hopefully answer some questions: