The Calm After The Storm – Great Barrier Island

Thursday morning, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and it appears to be yet another day in paradise.


I awoke to a shaking house early Wednesday morning, the strong wind and gusts that were hammering my site Monday and Tuesday had turned from North East to South East and by doing so picked up plenty more force. I checked the time, it was just past midnight, and
turned the VHF radio on. Average wind speed measured at Channel Island was 65 knots (120 km/h). This island, also known as the Watchman by locals, lies about 12 km south of Great Barrier Island in the Colville Channel. It was loud, the torrential rain sputtering onto
the roof adding to the noise level.

The past few days, I was sitting by the fire, reading comfortably, listening to music, enjoying my new place and its value to my life deeply.

woodburnerOh what a great sensation it is to be somewhere dry, warm and sheltered from the winds; increased by being able to see the horizon to the South, watching how the clouds zoom by, the wind via clouds and rain, as it turns turbulent pressing over the ridge to the North toward me.

Lying in bed, feeling the force of the gusts through the cabin’s resonance, I momentarily pondered about the so-called resonance catastrophe, more out of nostalgia than it being of any importance. Nevertheless, an uneasy feeling was building up. Will my roof stay on, is anything going to be picked up and fly through the window?

The forecast predicted it’ll die out in the morning; the wind and rain. I’ve witnessed the calm AFTER a storm a few times on the Barrier.  It is somewhat magical, last time experienced when my shed flew away weeks ago. It lifted off during the climax of the storm just before noon, and as predicted, the calm after the storm was only an hour away.

I was astounded, flabbergasted, taken aback and puzzled. It would have felt much better, had I lost the shed earlier. ‘If it only endured another hour, it would have survived’, were my thoughts. However, had it survived, this storm would have kited it much further into the bush…

Anyway. I am elated, proud, thankful and lucky. My cabin remains undamaged unaffected. The gusts must have been close to 150 km/h, sweeping over the mono-pitched roof, creating an immense uplifting force. I read the building code before designing my cabin and got all relevant information together for my site. This being a very windy site, I went full scale and built according to withstanding 50 m/s (180 km/h).

Thankful I am also, always. In this case because the house site had been landscaped in the past to avoid storm water. This is especially important considering the two catchments on my property.
I recall hiking through it as a greenhorn, experiencing it in torrential rain and miserable conditions rather than coming over for an inspection when it feels like living in paradise. The real estate agent
was fond of me, partly as he knew that I’m keen to buy, but also due to my diligence.

Before purchasing, I noted: Safe from storm water, all year round drinking water via catchments, safe from tsunamis (180 m above sea level), almost all day sun exposure, private, yet central, vast in size, diverse in flora and fauna, more than one access.

I went for a drive yesterday, observing. In a way also researching for my e-book “Building an Off Grid Cabin”. Wow, I saw many properties, at risk of flooding or being swept away by a landslide or tsunami.

I feel for those who experienced property damage.  In the old days, I bet people honoured the gods (the continuation of life) in form of a party to celebrate the Calm After The Storm. Especially when the damages could have been more sever.

Finally, a few words to the women and men who maintain our roads, working when too hot, too cold and too uncomfortable. A big thank you!

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