A Tutukaka dive operator hopes the marina will be back in business this week after the volcanic eruption in Tonga caused millions of dollars worth of damage.
Surges triggered by the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai volcano forced the evacuation of Far North campgrounds, swept away an oyster farm in Whangaroa Harbour, and sank at least six vessels in Tutukaka Harbour on Saturday night.
The surges also sank a fuel jetty and snapped piers at Tutukaka, though no one was hurt.
Northland harbourmaster Jim Lyle said loose debris, including broken pontoons and piles, was cleaned up on Sunday and three sunken vessels had been removed.
Much of the damage had been caused when the surges snapped off the ends of the first two piers, then pushed them to the far end of the marina where they struck another pier and bent it, trapping a number of vessels. A fuel jetty had also been ripped away by the force of the water.
Today a survey of the entire harbour would check for sunken piles or other hazards.
If the channel was found to be safe, vessels would be permitted to enter and leave the harbour again.
Fortunately, apart from some diesel from damaged boats, there was very little pollution.
The refuelling pontoon had recently been upgraded and was designed to automatically shut off the fuel supply when damaged.
''It was a bit of a disaster but it could have been a lot worse, considering how many boats were in there,'' Lyle said.
An assessor from the Insurance Council arrived yesterday to coordinate claims. Contractors are also expected to start work today on salvaging the larger vessels.
The dollar value of the damage is not yet known but is expected to run into millions of dollars.
Some of the infrastructure is owned by the Whangārei District Council while other parts are owned by the Tutukaka Marina Trust.
The trust was not available for comment yesterday and even its website was down due to the sheer volume of enquiries.
Council infrastructure manager Simon Weston said the damage was considerable and he had sympathy for those affected.
The most damage was to trust-owned assets or private vessels, with little or none to council-owned infrastructure, he said.
Dive Tutukaka owner Jeroen Jongejans said he was lucky his company's vessels were berthed at the end of the marina where they had escaped the worst effects of the surges.
He expected the marina's remaining fuel pump would be operational by today, when he also planned to have the bottom of his boats inspected in case props or rudders were damaged when water was sucked out of the harbour.
''Once that's done, by Thursday or Friday, we can start operating again, which is fantastic, because we are in the midst of our season.''
Until the broken piers could be rebuilt the marina would be short of more than 30 berths.
''That will create a lot of hassle for a lot of people but no lives have been lost and nobody has been hurt ... The biggest disappointment is there was no alert. It's supposed to go off to warn people when something like this happens.''
Jongejans didn't want to ''hang anyone out to dry'' but wanted to know why no tsunami warning was issued.
Northland Civil Defence spokesman Murray Soljak said an advisory for people to stay off beaches and shore areas was issued after 8pm on Saturday, after days of warnings from multiple agencies about the risk of sea surges created by Cyclone Cody.
Sirens were activated and evacuations ordered if GNS Science believed there was a ''threat to land'', meaning a tsunami was likely to come on to shore.
That was not the case on Saturday night and there was no prior indication of how severe the damage at Tutukaka Marina would be.
''However, had there been an indication of what was to occur at Tutukaka, an evacuation of the marina and immediate surrounds could have taken place and this would have got boat owners out of harm's way ... but given the forces that were evident, the damage to the boats and marina structures would unfortunately still have taken place.''
While Civil Defence promoted the message that tsunami sirens were a signal to ''seek further information'', in the past many people had started to evacuate as soon as they heard a siren so they were activated only when an evacuation order was deemed likely.
Surges were reported as far away as Ōpononi on the west coast but the only other significant damage known was to a new oyster farm in Whangaroa Harbour.
The Department of Conservation moved campers on Urupukapuka Island to higher ground while Ngāti Kuri evacuated two of its Far North campgrounds around midnight on Saturday as a precaution.
Facilities manager Abbey Brown said about 30 people were evacuated from Tapotupotu campground, near Cape Reinga, to the iwi's base at Te Paki, while another 50 were evacuated from Rarawa camping to Waiora Marae at Ngataki.
Campers at Kapowairua/Spirits Bay were not thought to be at risk but those staying near the estuary were moved to higher ground.
''Better to be safe than sorry,'' he said.
Yesterday campers were still being advised to stay out of the water, which remained unsettled and wasn't looking good, Brown said.