Hi, I was working when the September Quake hit, in Lyttelton. I was on a Ship berthed in the Port, when the rumbling sound started and just kept building, at first I thought the ship was “breaking up” and started running around to escape-to no avail, everything shock like crazy, placing myself in a doorway I tried to brace myself, then saw someone run past and decided to follow them out onto deck, stopping at the side of the Ship.
I then witnessed the Harbour Water rising and falling up to a Metre then it just went quiet. With the rumbling sound carring on[maybe rocks falling outside the Tunnel City side. Hearing no screams or other damage decided that it was OK? and went to bed as my shift had finished, the second “shock” hit in the morning I went home [Lyttelton is my “Home-Port”] only then did I realise the extent of what had happened, with big cracks and Bridges “Munted “on my way to my House in Brighton, in some ways it was exciting and scary, with no Deaths it seemed Ok to feel this way.
Feburary was a way lot different, I was in Wellington, and was told by another Crew member from Christchurch that “there has been another big Quake and the City has been destroyed, and People had been killed” first reaction was shock. Immediately I tried to get hold of family and my Partner as she works at the IRD in the City, all the lines were busy and took a while to get hold of them, my partner was very distressed as was my Sister.
My employer was great said to us go home, Murray Dickson [our employer] and our Union did everything in their power to try-but no flights to Christchurch.
We managed to get a Rail Ferry crossing at 6 pm that night and then started to see how things were down there on the news and the Net, a Guy [Brett] from Master Pet Foods, asked if we were from CHCH and said get a ride with him, great man, this was my first “taste” of how our Community was going to “Gel together”, my Crew Mate only got hold of his Son at about 11pm, poor bugger was so upset, and was a very quiet trip down to Home, finally arriving at 2am to my place with everything on the floor, crazy, and surreal as no power and total silence. So much more to tell but would have to have been the most stressfull moment I have been in, to see what has happened to Lyttelton [I was born there] and the City is still hard to comprehend to this day, but I think it will create one of the most wonderfull City’s as the people of Christchurch have come together and shown that the most important things is a sense of community spirit and caring for others.