the morning of December 26th, we went down to the beach for the
first time. Don had burned on our first day there and had been reluctant
so after breakfast on the beach we found him a lounger under some palm
trees right up at the top of the very wide beach.
We noticed that the sea had gone a long way out but this did not mean
anything to us. We had been to Mombassa several times and on occasion the
sea had gone right out to the reef. We also knew that it was a full moon
because of the resulting Buddhist holiday and thought that might affect
the tide. Little did we realise how many more Sri Lankan families would
be killed because it was a holiday and they were on the beach
Don on his lounger and went for a walk down by the water’s edge. I must
have gone about a quarter of a mile when I met a fisherman. He warned me
that there was something wrong with the sea. I told him that I knew the
currents were strong and that I had no intention of going swimming. He
said “No, madam, no - there is something wrong with the sea” He walked
with me until we reached his shanty village.
As we reached it a huge surge of water almost knocked me over. He held me
very tightly with one arm and he held on to a palm tree with the other.
The villagers were all screaming as furniture and other possessions
floated from their homes. They all started running back across the
railway lines directly behind.
The fisherman took me
back to the railway line and we stumbled along there until we came up
behind Don. I shouted that there was something wrong but Don just thought
I was crazy.
At that point, from my
higher vantage point I could see the sea rising in its bed. It just
continued to rise and came towards us. Don scrambled up and we escaped
the third and final wave, which took Don’s lounger and smashed it to
pieces as well as the entire interior of the restaurant where we had