That was where the pulverising, juddering noise added another weapon to its armoury; a vicious, spiteful sand-blasting machine. Or was it tiny shards of glass being driven into my skin and into my eyes? I almost made it to our steps, but with the cyclone battering and pummelling me it took Jas to reach back, and grabbing my arm, pull me up and onto the deck.
Once inside we stood on the threshold, and suddenly able to stand upright and with the wind no longer tearing at us, looked at each other second time and laughed. The last few minutes had been crazy, intense even, but boy had they been exhilarating!
Then we realised we were standing in water.
Switching on the solar lights it was obvious that the cyclone had not done with us. Rain was blowing into our fale through closed louvres and under the door, and lapping towards our bed at the rear. We used towels to form dams, and then threw off our sopping wet clothes and jumped into bed, but even then the cyclone wasn't prepared to give up. Instead, it continued to torment all night long, raging at our fale as if searching for a way in to do the most damage. Jas fell asleep around 11pm. I tossed and turned for another two hours.
By morning the worst was over, and we ventured outside to assess the damage. It could have been so much worse. Some fales, like ours, had suffered from invasive rains. One had slight structural damage. Trees were down, with a huge one having two or three major limbs sheared off. The resort office fared worse, with the locked doors being prised open, and sand and debris thrust up and washed inside. I’d be surprised if the printer will ever work again!
And now we learn Tropical Cyclone Winston may not be done with us at all. The latest predictions show a new track; one heading away and up to Niue – and then tracking back in a parallel line to renew its acquaintance on Sunday.
And this time, they say, it may be even more intense.