On that morning in the Maldives I went scuba diving with two of my daughters. One hundred feet down we felt the surge of the tsunami as it dragged us along an underwater cliff face for 10 minutes and then reversed itself twice. We were not aware of what was happening throughout the Indian Ocean. When we arrived back at the tiny atoll of Baros, which is one metre above sea level at its highest point, we were greeted by a hundred or so guests in life jackets - thankfully my wife, Mary, and our third daughter, Sarah, were there, safe.

They had been in bed and realised something was wrong when water surged into their rooms. Looking outside they saw shoes, towels, beach toys and chairs floating by. As it was a full moon, we all thought it was simply a high tide and it was not until some time later we realised the unfolding horror that was happening at that particular moment around the region.

As all lines of communication were blocked we tried all the numbers we knew, to no avail, and then, in a nervous state, poor Sarah dropped my phone into the knee-deep water. After a few hours I managed to dry out the phone and transfer some numbers to another phone and make contact with the hotel.

We have hugged each other a lot in the past week.

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