I think I can safely say that Taveuni had it at a Category 5, when the airport tower went down the winds were clocking in at 170 knots/205mph/300kmph. It engulfed the whole island. I have been in my fair share of Taveuni hurricanes and none of them had anything on this one. We all though Ami was bad, in comparison it was a cake walk.
The back end of Tomas was horrific. We were in our complete conrete Gen shed and at 4:30 in the morning that started to shiver with sustained winds. It uprooted one of the coconut trees and flew it about 30 feet. I thought it was well and truly over and everything would be flattened.
But by some miracle when we finally emerged after the almost 24 hours it was peaking, all the permanent structures were still standing. I think because for the most part the wind direction had hit our profile with most properties looking out to sea. Had it come straight on, I think it would have been much worse.
So aside from the cacophony of chain saws, hammering, everything seems to be getting back to normal. All the resorts are operational, stores are open, taxia are running. But our garden island has been pretty much pruned, but the views are massive now. The less sturdy structures took a beating or blew out especially for the locals and some that you never thought would stand are still standing.
But all in all given the strength and the duration of Hurricane Tomas, I think Taveuni got off lucky. Not that it was unaffected, it was and is, but it could have been so much worse. Only in Fiji do you get a disaster like this and after a week everything is back to operational and open for business, especially when you think of hurricanes like Katrina, Andrew and Iniki where it was months and years before things returned to normal. The resilency of the people of Fiji is amazing!
Oh yes the eye passed over us, it was so large it was over 2 hours long and then the larger and noisier freight train came bearing down on us. The waves were 25 feet with at at least a 12 foot surge, there is sand all the way across the road in some areas.
I just came back from checking out the nearby reefs and yes there is damage but not as bad as I expected. The 1998 Hurricane Gavin turned it into a boneyard and the waves were about the same. Although there is obvious wreckage, the good news is there are enough roots left for the coral to regrow and some areas are still abundant WHEW and my huge anenome that I have never seen anywhere else in the world is still there, the colony is albeit smaller, but still large enough. The reef about 100 yards offshore is flattened. Then the further out you go, it gets better. But once again I am very glad so much of the reef survived, it was very lucky indeed.. Lots of coral cuttings down there. The fish population still looked good.
To finally answer your question that I never saw...we don't use stainless hooks so that in case the line breaks or we have to cut a fish loose in the case of the Bronzie, the hook will rust out in a few days, usually it is hooked on the lip so they still are able to feed. I guess they just look like a bit Gothic, styling and profiling with hook lip piercings to impress their fishy friends.
I was just in Fiji a week ago. Yes there were parts of Fiji where the Tomas did some damage but most of Fiji was spared. I didn't notice a thing different in Nadi or Suva and I was there over Xmas. I live in Hawaii and am well aware of what Iniki did. You can't really compare Tomas and Iniki. Completely different scenarios. I think Roberta would agree. I wouldn't let Tomas influence my travel plans at all.