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Nightmare in Paradise
a few short ,minutes before the wave stuck we were asked did we have any bad experiences in the last 6 months of travel … nope - 6 months of extroadanary encounters and amazing adventures…. all very positive.... until that very eery night....
The question was asked by one of our hosts after they invited us on to an amazing 20m catamaran as we drank and dansed under the clear skies in one of the most beautiful untouched bays in the world on the Island of Pines in the Pacific.
After a great evening our host was driving us back to dry land in his zodiac where we were to make the 15 minute walk to our hôtel. Instead of going to the jetty he was to approach the beach in order to save us some walking time. It was the Kid, Dad and Mom Trotter in the boat along with one of our hosts and his 8 year old girl Emily. The sea was like a lake … calm and clear reflecting the almost full moon. We had of course our rugsacks as always… hard drives, laptops and some cameras.
Then DISASTER struck. It was very eery … We slowly approched the beach and sized up if the surf was small enough to allow us to wade in. we were about high deep and we all looked ahead and studied the beach. it was flat and calm . all of a sudden our host looked back and shouted …. NNNNNNooooo . We had a split second to gather a glimpse of a lone massive wave that appeared out of nowhere …. the wave that was about to turn the perfect evening into a disaster, turning both the boat and our world upside down in a split second.
BANG we hit the sea bed with a thud and were under water. Panic, stress and belwiiderment filled out heads... what just happened ????1*$$*%*%*
The first reaction when we surfaced was of course the girls …. The Kid Trotter managed to surface herself somehow unscathed despite being very close to the motor and propellors. Our host was shouting for his daughter who was no where to be seen. The Mom Trotter despite having her heavy backpack was ok after being tugged into a standing position by The Dad Trotter. Due to his position at the front of the zodiac and opposite the motor The Dad Trotter was (with difficulty) able to lift the zodiac up head height and recover Emily in one arm and his soaked backpack in another. The kids were brought on to the dark beach and the adults tried thier best to salvage the belongings that were scattered in the water. The surf was small again... there was no other big waves.... it seemed like it was just that one big freak wave.... we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Ironically enough it started to rain at that moment also.
SHOCK is the only thing that could explain what we felt at that stage - everyone was ok it seemed …..and that was the most important thing by far …. it seemed to be a freak accident but we were very very lucky. our minds were racing thinking of they what may have been … had we been in deeper water… we had no life jackets…. what might have been if one of us was hit by the motor or knocked unconscious under the boat …..
BUT as we carried the girls back to our hôtel in the rain we did not need to speak of our worry regarding our electronics material and especially our hard drives with 6 most of footage from around the world for our travel series. The loss was significant (2 mac books, iPad etc etc) . But as the Dad Trotter searched in panic through his bag he could not find his harddrive .... only to realise that for the 1st time in 6 months he had forgotten it in his hotel room ! what a stroke of luck on a terrible night.
The next few hours was hectic and little sleep was had in our efforts to get us ready for our flight at 9 the next morning in the hope we could continue filming on the next three islands we were meant to visit. Alot was destroyed but the bare bare essentials ( notably our sony cam that somehow survived the accident in a knotted black bag) were ok and allowed us a glimmer of chance to keep on filming.
Thanks to some amazing people and some really rapid actions they have enabled us to finish off our new caledonia trip and produce the series we came to film. And boy to we have some great stuff to share with you guys.
A particular shout out goes to Mana Nautique who were a massive help in managing the situation the morning after and getting us to the airport in time for our 9am flight (it was a close call!!!)
(The previous day we had an amazing day at sea with Mana Nautique and it is well recommended!)
NEGATIVE side note
We always like to remain positive at all times, try to be objective in looking at dealings with people
but there was one incident that does remain in the back of our throats. Tell us what would you do in this scenario.
A stressed out woman comes to you at midnight soaking wet saying that she and 2 young girls had a boating accident and almost drowned. The girls were being showered but she feared for all her equipment .... she requested some rice and a hairdryer ... what do you do ?
a) jump into action and do ALL you can to help your customer
b) immediately say you don't have enough rice and you dont have a hairdryer ... (and tell your grand daughter to shut up when she says you do have a hair dryer)
well unfortunately the owners of Relais Le Kuberka on the island of pines choose option 2 :( As much as that eery night seems almost like a bad dream her reaction is almost beyond belief ... we kind of have to do a double take and say .... ok the accident did happen... but did that hotel owner really act like that ???
POSITIVE foot note (Its always important to finish on positives)
as shook up as we were at the time and the logistical nighmare we endured for 48 hours to continue our trip ... there are positives .... there is always positives ! Have you ever heard of the book 'The Obstacle is the Way' - great read that teaches us all that no matter what is thrown at us in life it is an opportunity to grow and develop.
In this instance we were lucky that we were un injured. The incident taught us the importance of the essential ... our personal safety .... everything else is secondary. It also taught us that situations like this bring out the best in us and despite the thought that we may have to cancel the rest of our NC trip (3 other islands) we battled those negative thoughts and found solutions in very very short time scales to every obstacle that threatened our plans. We are not rejoycing that the obstacles were flung in front of us but we are glad in how we managed things.
We all have so much more potential than we could understand. Believe it.
September 27, 2015, 8:56 am
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