Tornadoes, Earthquakes and Hurricanes
We haven’t written in the past 3 weeks because we went to Miami for 2 1/2 weeks to finalize certain issues and complete the transition to CR. Congratulations to Emmanuelle!! On July 29th, 2002, she was sworn in as a US citizen. Maya visited and played with her two best friends, Morgan and Jake, both of whom we expect to see in CR within the next few weeks! Manuel worked at the clinic.
During out absence, Life in Punta Uva was active. Apparently there was a 6.3 earthquake in northern Panama, which was strongly felt in Punta Uva. We are only a few miles from the Panamanian border!! The good news is that since we do not have any major infrastructure or skyscrapers, there was no significant damage anywhere!! Apparently, earthquakes ARE common here. In 1991, there was a 7+ earthquake in Limon that lifted the coral reef 5 feet above the water. To this day, when in Limon, one can see a fully exposed coral reef – now dead.
Many people have been concerned for us about the risk of hurricanes. I know is hard to believe, but in Costa Rica, there are NO hurricanes! We are just below the hurricane belt and therefore NEVER see them. However, it is possible to get side effects from hurricanes, as the bands of rain can travel all the way down here. Wind-wise – we are fine!
The lack of hurricanes in a tropical world does not exempt us from a random powerful thunderstorms. While we were away, there was a powerful thunderstorm with leading winds almost as strong as a hurricane. The winds lasted about 15 minutes. The locals recall it being a quiet mid afternoon when all the sudden the wind picked up. Suddenly, all over town, the sound of trees cracking was heard all over. Some massive trees several hundred years old fell. Power and telephone lines mostly destroyed as well as the poles. Several houses smashed by fallen trees. The town was isolated for several days due the number of trees blocking road access. When we arrived back to Punta Uva, we could still see the efforts of people trying to get back to life. New poles had been put in place and most of the trees were being cut and removed. No one was severely injured as a result of the storm. Our rental house had some minor damage, but was overall OK.
Our property, however, was a victim of these rare, strong winds. We lost one of our three big trees on the building plateau as well as a number of other smaller trees. The good news is that this tree was the closest to where we plan to build the house, thus we are now safer for the future should another storm come. Had we had our house already built, it very well may have been smashed by the fallen tree!!!!! The more important news is that Big Tree itself – was spared.
Otherwise, the road and the bridge are moving along. Hopefully, if the weather cooperates, we expect to be finished with the carving of the road within the next few days. Next step will be to bring over 100 MAC trucks of riverbed road and gravel to surface it…another massive job that we look forward to!!
We’ve had brainstorming sessions with Nicolas, our architect / developer. He’s a French guy who built a wonderful jungle lodge here some 10 years ago. We expect to have house plans drawn up within the next 2 weeks as well. Construction will begin as soon as the road is complete. We will, of course, update everyone with LOTS of pictures and updates.