At 8:50am on the morning of the 26th of December 2004, a first small wave came into the hotel to a depth of 2 feet into the resturant. Whereafter the sea sucked back out for over 1.5km, exposing the usually permanently hidden floor of the Indian Ocean.
A second wave then came. This monster was roughly 35ft above usual sea level...
Animation showing the 1300km tectonic plate boundary that ruptured that day, and the massive impact on Arugam Bay and the East Coast of Sri Lanka.
Amidst the utter destruction, a photo of the bridge linking Arugam Bay and Pottuvil:
At the Tsunami Hotel, the remains of our first six rooms.
The height of the waves are indicated by the change in colour - brown to green - in the palmyrah tree (foreground right):
Our resturant and bar, the roof and support structures were just blown off
The remains of our two-room bungalow. At least we still had a quarter of a bathroom:
Room 5's remains:
The restaurant with our original road sign, that still survives in our new restuarant
The two partners in the hotel, Sri Lanka and England...
A bus in the main ABay road
This man was inside that car when the tsunami hit, he's explaning how it rolled over:
Boats and debris were found as far as 750m from normal tide level:
A van 200m from tide level:
The following two photos show the magnitude of destruction in the worst hit area of Arugam Bay, 200m south of us...
more nuclear bomb than ocean:
Naleen shows how he and four of our staff survived. They climbed into the water tower, which remained standing, despite seawater splashing two feet above its top. Naleen had a broken arm in a cast at the time of the tsunami...
All our staff and guests survived, one being saved by our dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, who pulled our cook 200m to safety. Hero Buckley:
Where an object hit our tree, with Naleen in foreground for scale:
We were lucky.
We only lost buildings.
So many people in Arugam Bay lost their lives. Their family members. Their homes. Their livelihoods.