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Super High Tide hit Intercontinental Bora Bora last Saturday night, Sept 10.

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I work in the travel industry, and we received this email from our marketing department this morning:

The InterContinental Le Moana Resort Bora Bora was hit by a super high tide Saturday night and has sustained major damage. Guests were evacuated from all the bungalows at around 10pm Saturday night, to ensure their safety. They are fine.

Guests have been accommodated at other hotels in Bora Bora .

The damage to the hotel will be assessed today, and it is anticipated that the hotel may be closed for one to two months. However, this will be determined after this assessment has been made.

Also see: http://www.tahiti-explorer.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/4/1482.html

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    Latest news: a Google translation of news story from Tahiti-Presse:
    ..."78 homes in Bora Bora were flooded, a few were completely destroyed. Several beaches disappeared, and many small boats and equipment which were on the shores were destroyed or damaged; According to a native living on this island, it was "worse than in the passing of the cyclone of 95. Catastrophic and discouraging for everyone ".

    There was some damage on Raiatea, Tahiti and Moorea. In the Tuamotu archipelago, the airline company Air Tahiti had to cancel many flights, as the airports of Fakahina, Makemo, Tukume, Tatakoto, Nukutavake, Vaitahi and Apataki are currently closed. Some houses were flooded. There have been no casualties..."
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    And more:
    Here is an article in English with some pictures of the damage

    http://www.tahitipresse.pf/presse.cfm?action=open&type=1&idpr=11318

    News items : 09/12/2005 at 10:14 AM
    Heavy swells cause major damage on Raiatea, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Moorea

    (Tahitipresse) - Heavy swells over the weekend caused major damage on the Leeward Islands of Raiatea and Bora Bora and the Windward Islands of Tahiti and Moorea. There were no reports of human injuries or deaths anywhere in French Polynesia.

    Two deluxe hotels were reported damage on the island of Bora Bora, where some 78 homes were reported flooded, some of them destroyed. The hotels involved were the 64-room Hotel Sofitel Marara, which has been closed for renovation work since June, and the 64-bungalow InterContinental Moana Beach Bora Bora. Guests had to be evacuated from over-the-water bungalows.
    There were no immediate reports of whether other hotels had been damaged.

    65 homes flooded on Raiatea, badly damaging 6 of them

    On the island of Raiatea, the swells that began in the southernmost Austral Islands at the start of the weekend flooded 65 homes, badly damaging six of them, according to an official civil defense report.
    On the island of Tahiti, several homes in the south coast Commune of Papara and on Tahiti’s peninsula were flooded, with two of them badly damaged as the lagoon inside the coral reef overflowed during the night, crossing the circle island road, washing away parts of beaches and dumping debris on the beaches and roads.
    On Tahiti’s sister island of Moorea, heavy road damage was reported and a boat was nearly lost before rescuers saved it.

    Air Tahiti cancels flights to 7 Tuamotu atolls as airport runways are flooded

    Air Tahiti, French Polynesia’s domestic airline, canceled several flights to the Tuamotu Archipelago because runways were flooded. Airports were reported closed on the Tuamotu atolls of Fakahina, Makemo, Tukume, Tatakoto, Nukutavake, Vaitahi and Apataki. Some homes on those atolls were also flooded.
    Météo France, the French State meteorological service, began warning at midday Thursday of “very dangerous” swells for the Austral Islands, the Gambier Island the southeastern Tuamotu Archipelago. Météo France also warned that the Society Islands, which include the Leeward and Windward Islands, could also expect heavy swells.

    Bora Bora hit by heavy swells late Saturday night and early Sunday morning

    For the Leeward and Windward Islands, those heavy swells arrived late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. They began hitting Bora Bora around 10 pm Saturday.
    The French Navy, which had several of its Papeete-based vessels conducting exercises in the Leeward Islands, sent forces to Bora Bora to help clean up the damage. Anne Boquet, who just arrived early Saturday as French Polynesia’s new French High Commissioner, requested the French military forces for Bora Bora.
    The military joined forces with local firefighters and French gendarmes based on Bora Bora to go to the aid of residents.

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    Thank you for posting this information. I'm not familiar with "swells". Do they arise from a storm or underwater earthquake, or is there some other cause? Do damaging swells occur with any seasonal pattern?

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