Eerie silence as Cairns waits

The deserted Cairns Marina as storm clouds gather
The deserted Cairns Marina as storm clouds gather Angeline Foong

THE Cairns Marina is usually a hive of activity. Hundreds of tourists file onto boats bound for the Barrier Reef, private yachts are docked and cleaned and the long strip of waterside restaurants bustle with hungry patrons.

Today however, the Marina is totally deserted.

Not even a single dinghy is in sight. The exclusive restaurants have been closed and sandbagged, their shiny windows now crossed with tape.

There is an eerie silence in the city. The occasional sound of a cyclone party, where people celebrate a day off with a beer or two was heard earlier in the night, but generally it appears most residents are bunkered down in their homes waiting for Yasi to hit.

In the hotel next door, a few visitors have hit the jackpot and secured seats on one of the last flights out of Cairns, the airport staff working overtime to support the exodus.

The locals are accustomed to cyclone warnings and usually unflustered by tropical weather. Seeing the concern on their faces emphasises the gravity of the situation.

It was almost impossible to buy a AA battery in the town this afternoon and in the supermarkets, empty shelves dominate the water and bread aisles. Still, some are doing their best to keep their sense of humour, with one radio station discussing the best games to put in your cyclone kit. Twister was seen as a bad choice given the space constraints of a cyclone shelter!

Hope that's of interest. Now that my windows are taped, food stocks sorted and our oversized barbecue and outdoor dining set is parked in the centre of the living room, I feel relatively ready for whatever tomorrow brings. Have a good night all, stay safe and stay dry.

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