The following photos were taken by Catherine York, who was aboard the J46 Aragorn anchored off Phi Phi Don, Thailand, when the tsunamis hit. These photos cover a one-minute span, showing the first ebb and the first flood.
This is the first of Catherine’s photos of the tsunami. You are looking roughly east. The low part of Koh (Island) Phi Phi Don is to your right. The water is brown in the center from the sand due to the strong suction that comes first with the tsunami. From the position of the four boats on the right, you can see that we had the counter-clockwise rotation of the water on the ebb. The flooding has just begun. The three boats on the left are starting to point toward the entrance to this bay (over your left shoulder). If you look closely, you can see shoreline in the background, unlike the later photos. TAHLEQUAH is the ketch farthest on the right, PAROO is farthest left, NADEMIA is second left.
This is Catherine’s second photo, generally looking at the left side of the last photo. You can see the first crest moving rapidly in and starting to stand up as it reaches shore. David and Sue from PAROO are in their dink, having been aboard ARAGORN, and trying to make their way safely back. Yes, the date is the 25th, because Catherine’s camera was still on Eastern Standard Time.
Catherine’s third photo shows the first crest starting to stand up, behind the two boats. The flood is so strong that NADEMIA and PAROO look like they are moving through the water, although they are still anchored. See below.
This is a close up of NADEMIA from the third photo, moving faster than ever, but see below.
This close-up of PAROO from the third photo shows the greater speed of the wave in the corner of the bay she is in. She was in about 40 feet of water. You can also see how the wave is standing up more against the shore behind her. (Click here for Aragorn’s web site.)