Unforeseen King Tides Hits Coastal Communities

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BY JEREMY GWAO

FREELANCE JOURNALIST

IT is traditional knowledge commonly known in most rural communities that the King Tide season begins each year from December till around April.

Solomon Islands has experienced extreme high tide starting this month on 5th and 6th December that left some low lying coastal areas covered with Seawater.

On Sunday, many coastal settlements in Malaita Province were reportedly hit with king tides which were undeniably worst tides ever experienced in past decade, reaching places it has never reach before.

The tide severely hit many communities in Malaita Province and it ended up being the worst experience ever observed out of all tides experienced in the past, according to some community elders.

A few coastal communities in the province share their experience how these tides; which they regarded as the worst season of tide ever experienced, has impacted their livelihood.

Ambu Village, Central Region, Malaita Province

Ambu Village was located in the central region of Malaita province and according to sources, have also experienced the devastating effects of the king tides.

According to 35-year-old Timmy Saki Misimake who reside in Ambu Village, the levels in which the tide reaches are levels that were never expected by the locals.

Pathway through the Ambu village. Photo:Timmy Saki Misimake.

Timmy managed to capture some photographs and keep it as a mark to compare with in the next season.

He said, “I have never seen any tide like this ever since my childhood days being in this village.”

Underneat of Timmy’s home on sunday tide. Photo: Timmy Saki Misimake.

“The tide had reached my knee and gradually it increases as it reaches Sunday afternoon,” Timothy stressed.

He said that the Ambu community is not safe for the next generation if this is the current level the tide reaches this year.

Patmos Island, West AreÁre Region, Malaita Province.

There is a low laying Island in West AreÁre Region in Malaita Province called Patmos which is located only a few meters away from the mainland. It was reported that they had had enough tough months and days going through the current tide season.

The people there were terrified about the oncoming king tide that lasts just days but left a shattering damage to food gardens. It was described as a threat to the future generations who will have to go through an experience that is far worse than the current one.

Patmos Island on sunday tide. Photo: James Maetorea.

James Maetorea, a 51-year-old elder in Patmos Island, describes the situation as scary because it seems like the island will disappear at anytime now.

“The tide is not normal, I saw this year’s tide and it is expected to be bigger and higher in the next season,” He said.

Peace was no longer found inside the quiet Island that consisted of only five houses, according to Mr. Maetorea, who compared living on the Island during his early childhood days.

Patmos Island on saturday. Photo: James Maetorea.

“We did not foresee the tide, so on Sunday we lost many of our root crops like yam and potato and today we have to depend on goods from shops to help us survive.

“This was a very big tide and there will still be bigger ones in the near future,” Maetorea said.

In the meantime, the 51-year-old passionately stated that although threatened with the risk of rising tides each year, the history and story of Patmos Island will never shattered or lost.

Mr. James canoe shade on sunday. Photo: James Maetorea.

“There are so many memories that will be lost if this island goes under the sea and it will be a sad thing that future generations will not be aware of those memories,” he added.

The tides measured by the Solomon Islands – Tarekukure Wharf 2021 Tide Predictions Calendar, shows that for Sunday December 5th, the high tide was 1.73 metre at 4:02 pm and on Saturday December 6th it was 1.72 metres at 3:24 pm.

These two dates and times were recorded as the highest tides in 2021 for Solomon Islands, even though currently other areas and regions around the country might still be experiencing higher than normal king tides.


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