'Glasses and bottles were smashing to the floor'

Linda Taylor
Friday 15 August 2003 00:00 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


I opened my eyes at 8.15 yesterday morning to see Sky, my six-year-old daughter, staring at me incredulously. The room was shaking, glasses and bottles were smashing to the floor. Before she had a chance to panic I grabbed her and, embracing the moment, told her excitedly that we were having an earthquake.

Instinctively we ran on to the balcony. A couple of children nearby were crying - parents panicking. The ground was heaving and shaking beneath our feet. The quake lasted five to six minutes and was followed by a couple of short aftershocks.

Once it was still we grabbed our clothes and headed off to breakfast.

Apart from some broken glass around the bar there was no visible evidence of the quake. Over breakfast, Sunsail holidaymakers who'd arrived at the Galini sailing club the day before, were cracking jokes. Emma, a Sunsail rep, was describing a rockslide. The sailing fraternity was suitably impressed that they'd just survived their first earthquake.

Our island, Lefkada, had been hit by an earthquake. The epicentre was Agios Nikitas, about 15 miles north-west of us. We were advised not to go to Lefkas town, some 10 miles north, where "the buildings have fallen down and a huge crack has opened up around the entire marina''.

We were also told that our site was without power or running water. Only slightly perturbed at the thought of there being no air-conditioning but genuinely aghast when it was realised that there would be no cold wine that evening, the banter gently subsided.

I wandered down to the beach where Club Galini's stiff-upper-lip Brits were busy relaxing, snorkelling, swimming. Only the sailors and windsurfers wore frowns. With no wind, this was not a good day for sailing.

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