Vietnam. Weathering a Typhoon and escape to Mui Ne Beach

Monday, Nov 2, 2009

The Typhoon Hits Nha Trang

A nice night sleep ‘til 8:30am (Griffin’s love for free breakfast is the ONLY thing that got me out of bed) awoke to gray skies, but no rain and not much wind. Clearly the typhoon had yet to make its landfall. We milled around for a bit, packed raincoats and the waterproof crappy camera, and started walking along the beach to the health clinic for Griff’s shot. Well, turns out, the waves were pretty big. And angry. They hissed and rolled and welled up to 10’+ right onto the shore. Talk about the nastiest shore break ever.

The beach

The distance from ocean to sidewalk, restaurant, grass, and other non-beach areas is about 50’. The waves were rolling in, looking peaceful, with long periods, to the shore, where they would jump into existence, towering and seeming to quiver for a moment, above the sand, and then slam down with a force that vibrated the sand and echoed in the buildings behind us. The water would then rush up over the 50’ of sand, covering the distance with alarming speed, and slam into the wall, or whatever was there. We walked along the sand, jumping onto the sea wall when we had to, getting soaked above the waist several times when we were not quick enough. It was odd, having the water be so warm. We are both used to storms like this in New England, where the water is at best in the low 70s. Here the water is in the low 80s, so its ferocity does not match its gentle feel on the skin.

We got to the clinic, got Griff his shot, and were in and out in less than 30 mins. It rained a bit on the way there, but it was really raining on the way back. And in just that short amount of time the waves had gotten even bigger. It was coming.

We went back to the hotel, grabbed the other camera, computer, and books, and went back to the place we had been for the Halloween dinner. We ordered lunch, played in the huge surf (safely of course), and sat around all day, watching the wind pick up. Around 3pm the bulk of it hit, the winds got crazy, and soon the power went out. The ocean swell changed direction – instead of coming straight at the shore, it was now moving almost parallel to it. The palm trees were whipping around and rain was being blown sideways. We didn’t do much today, but it was surely an interesting site to behold, and fun to be a part of.

Nha Trang Beach is where the asterisk is, right where the center of the storm came through.

And that was our day.

Tuesday, Nov 3, 2009

Nha Trang to Mui Ne Beach

Over the course of the night the rain had continued and intensified, to the point where we were greeted by street flooding and a late bus to take us to Mui Ne Beach. The typhoon had dumped 13 inches of rain in our area. Apparently more than 80,000 people were evacuated; we were not among them. Also, our hotel restuarant, on the second floor, began flooding, rather rapidly, as the deck outside was not draining and water was over 4” deep – with no where to go, it started coming inside. Not sure what happened as we had to check out.

The news got better photos than we did, being on a bus with fogged and rain streaked windows:

But, we got some photos too, including the flooded restaurant in our hotel.

We expected the rain and flooding to go on all day, and that our 2pm arrival in Mui Ne would be more like a 5pm arrival. However, a couple hours south of Nha Trang – after our luggage in the storage compartment under the bus had been completely soaked due to rain-flooded streets – the rains stopped and the sun even came out. In fact, we got to Mui Ne 15mins ahead of schedule. Yay for a beach day. The surf was warm and foamy, and the beach of Mui Ne long, making for a great 3+ mile walk. The sunset was incredible, as was our lack of being able to find a working ATM.

We ate dinner at a great spot, next to our hotel, right on the beach. For dinner, beers, and fruit smoothies, we ate for less than $7US. We also had the added pleasure of a huge wave hitting the sea wall and stairs every so often, threatening to come up over into our seating area and soak us. What fun is dinner without having to be on edge for the fury of the ocean?!

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