On Wednesday morning Scott and I went to pick up the kids for surf club. We were at the beach by 8:30, unloaded the boards, and the kids ran into the water with them to start surfing. They had band practice at 11, which meant we needed to have them back home by 10am so they could eat & change to get ready for school.
One of the kids was having a rough morning, and didn't want to surf, just swim. But he's a child that constantly changes his mind about what he wants to do, and Scott & I were telling him that because it was a short surfing day he couldn't change his mind later about surfing. It was a now or never kind of thing, as we were locking up the car. He decided that yes he would surf, took the board, and then went around the front of the car. Scott was explaining something to me, when I felt the ground shake a bit. I looked at the car and saw it bouncing up and down. I was certain that the one child who we forced to make a decision about surfing was irritated that we made him choose, and had climbed in the car and was jumping. I thought to myself, "wow, he's jumping pretty hard that we are feeling the ground move." Scott stopped mid sentence and said "Did you just feel that? Did the ground just shake?" I then noticed that the kid was already in the water- he hadn't been jumping in the car!
"Wow!" we both said to each other, "I think that was just a small earthquake!" We didn't think much of it, and went into the water and had the surf club. The kids got out early- only surfing for about 45 minutes, and we started to pack the boards back up.
One of the kids mothers pulled up to where we were in a car screaming, "My son, my son! I thought you were gone, I thought the ocean ate you up!"
I talked to her as she calmed down, as she explained to me that it was a HUGE earthquake and that there was going to be a tsunami! I assured her that we would all be okay, and we all got in our cars to take the kids back home . Scott and I were shocked at her response, and assumed that because their houses aren't made well, they felt it a lot stronger.
But when we arrived back at our homes, we realized that it WAS a huge earthquake, and everyone felt it in a really strong way. Everyone except us!!! Things fell off the walls, fans and bikes fell over, the walls swayed, and people got dizzy. Because of the size of the earthquake (7.6) the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had issued a warning for Panama, Costa Rica & Nicaragua.
The epicenter of the earthquake was very close to where I live- only a few hours away.
A lot of people left Jaco to go to higher ground because of the tsunami warnings. Being right on the coast and 8 blocks from the beach, we are in a high risk area! The tsunami warnings were cancelled after about 2 hours.
There was some damage to the country- landslides, cracked buildings, fallen bridges, etc.
Costa Rica has been built well- it is a strong country that has the ability to handle natural disasters well. The country came together to help those in need, and the government acted quickly to inform and give instructions.
We are still feeling aftershocks- today there was a big shake of 5.6. I was on the land, and not at the beach for that one so I did feel the entire house sway. We are praying for those who have been hurt, or lost homes due to the quake, and are praying for no more big aftershocks.