An earthquake adventure while house sitting in Costa Rica
Regular contributor, Mike, has had many house sitting adventures but one of the most dramatic was his experience of an earthquake while house sitting in Costa Rica. As Mike explains ”House Sitting Has Foreseen and Unforeseen Adventures” but our Trusted House Sitters are ready to deal with anything!
“As a house and pet sitter in Costa Rica and many other great locations I’ve met people from around the world. Some homeowners I’ve known for years while others are personally met only days before they entrust me with their home, possessions, and pets. This is a responsibility that I and other house and pet sitters I know take very seriously.
Traveling as a house and pet sitter I’ve had many foreseen, and unforeseen experiences; one of which I’d like to share today. This particular experience falls into the categories of unforeseen, thrilling, memorable, and in the end enjoyable.
I had just finished a morning walk through the jungle, stopping to watch monkeys swing amongst the trees and toucans perched high above. The sun was shining with a gentle breeze; what a beautiful day and wonderful journey were taking shape in Costa Rica.
Returning to my home away from home and exchanging a warm “Buenos dia” with my new neighbors I entered the gate. Although I’d only been here a couple days on my own, my new friend and homeowner Barbara had introduced me to her neighbors and the surrounding area.
Upon reaching the house I sat down to take off my hiking boots when I noticed a strange quietness. Suddenly the breeze and morning serenades from the birds had stopped. Within seconds, I felt the earth moving under my feet followed by the sound of a neighbor girl scream “TEMBLOR” (earthquake).
Being from Florida and not having any earthquake experience I wasn’t sure what to do. But I knew sitting on a patio under a tin roof wasn’t one of them. I scurried to the middle of driveway, away from trees and other possible falling debris.
Comfortable with my escape, the earth continuing to roll, I looked around. The first thing I noticed were the hibiscus shrubs literally raising and falling about 6 inches. Turning my attention down the gravel driveway, it too was rolling like small waves on the ocean. It felt like I’d had one too many cocktails. I know to some, this may sound like an exaggeration from a scared guy in a foreign land, but honestly it’s what I saw and felt.
The earthquake lasted about 30 seconds as the earthly sea returned to calm. I retied my boots and checked on the screaming girl before walking around the house looking for exterior damage. Finding none I entered the front door, thankfully finding no major damage there either.
After surveying the rest of the property and checking to see if my neighbors needed help I set out to notify Barbara. But first I needed more details; the epicenter and magnitude of the quake. Checking the time I figured she would still be asleep and with no damage I elected to send her an email.
Email sent explaining her home and property had not been damaged, the epicenter location (on the Nicoya Peninsula; about 60 miles away), and the magnitude (7.6) I started to check on some other expatriates in the area. Finding everybody was fine I returned home.
Knowing the earthquake had made international news I knew it was time to call Barbara. Upon reaching her and finding she hadn’t heard any news yet, I filled her in on the details as I knew them. Barbara said there was really no need to call her because Costa Rica has had smaller earthquakes in the past and she had previously taken measures to minimize damage.
Experiencing the first major earthquake in my life, neighbors, new friends, and property safe and sound it was time for me to give thanks and reflect.
Like I mentioned earlier this experience falls into four categories; unforeseen, thrilling, memorable, and in the end enjoyable.
- Unforeseen because it was a part of nature, which cannot be controlled; we take what she gives us and do our best.
- Thrilling, oh that it was; feeling and seeing the earth rolling, the sudden silence of the birds, and the equally sudden stilling of the wind. I have never felt such an instantaneous change in my surroundings.
- It was truly one of those experiences that I will never forget. It ranks right up there just below life changing experiences like the birth of my daughters, some of the career decisions I made, and the family memories.
- And yes, it was an enjoyable experience for those reasons I just mentioned. But more importantly no lives were lost and no major damage was done in our immediate area.
As I continue to house and pet sit combined with traveling I’m sure there will be more foreseen and unforeseen adventures.”
Have you experienced anything like this while house sitting? We’d love to hear your stories!
You can read more about Mike’s adventures on his website or view his TrustedHousesitters.com profile here