Sunday, June 7, 2015

Hurricanes and Elections

It's a very busy Sunday for Baja California Sur...Hurricane Blanca approaches and the voting booths opened at 08:00. 

Today's Google doodle in Mexico - "vote here"

Las Elecciones: All of Mexico has been gearing up for today's midterm election which will choose all 500 seats in Mexico's lower house of congress, plus nine governorships (including Baja California Sur's) and hundreds of mayorships and local posts (also including La Paz and BCS's). 

We've seen lots of posters and campaign events taking place in the streets of La Paz. Even our Tundra inadvertently got in on the action.

The Tundra got tagged, or should I say "pasted" by some overzealous campaigners. I wonder if Armando Martinez will win the mayorship?
Mexican elections have a history of violence before, during, and after elections. Most of the problems occur in the southern states of mainland Mexico, not so much Baja. Baja still has to abide by the "no liquor sales" law, however. I went to the store yesterday for supplies and was amused by the huge amounts of booze people were buying before the Saturday 10:00 p.m. cut-off time. Nothing like a little prohibition to increase liquor sales and consumption! 

Notice on our marina store. Absolutely no liquor sales (stores and restaurants) allowed from Saturday 10:00 p.m. to Monday morning. 

Huracán Blanca:  Since we arrived last Thursday at the safe harbor of La Paz, Blanca has steadily raged toward Baja, increasing to a Category 4 hurricane, then dropping back down to Category 1 during last night. Luckily she has veered toward the northwest and hopefully the Baja peninsula will feel only Tropical Storm and Tropical Depression winds and rains. 

This is what Blanca looked like at 06:45 a.m.

For the past few days all the cruisers have been stripping sails, canvas and other miscellaneous items off our decks. A few days ago the port captain closed the Port of La Paz...

The port closure flag was hanging limp since Friday, today it finally started to wave in the breeze.
...and all the big motor charter vessels have been unable to take their clients out to the islands. The clients have either flown home early or gotten hotel rooms. Our Marina Palmira is now full to capacity with these huge motor vessels.

After the debacle of Odile in Sept 2014, Baja has tried to be more prepared for a hurricane. A couple of days ago we were surprised to see a fleet of electrical utility trucks rolling down the highway. Apparently they were ferried over from the mainland in anticipation of the bad weather. 

Most of the electrical utility trucks went to Cabo, but about 25 of them stayed in La Paz, parked at the nearby hotel.

Yesterday morning truckloads of additional military from the mainland unloaded from the ferry with more than 24 tons of hurricane relief supplies.

Last night, after working hard all day, we had a "Hurricane Party" with our friends Leif and Lisa, who are also stuck here. They are waiting for the bad weather to pass so they can begin their trip around the cape and up the western coast of Baja to the U.S. We were treated with some delicious, fresh wahoo that Leif grilled up for us, and dark chocolate brownies baked by Lisa. Even though we partied, we still take the hurricane very seriously.

Sylvia and Tom with Leif aboard the air conditioned Finisterra. Picture taken by Lisa Burford

This morning was still oddly calm, and while both restaurants were, surprisingly, hosting Sunday brunch, we cruisers were doing last minute checks to docklines, etc. The few working marina staff walked the docks to do their final checks and to tie the electronic gates open in case of loss of electricity.

So here we sit, as prepared as we can be. It's early afternoon and the wind is just now starting to pick up into the mid 20 knot range. Cinnabar can make her own electricity so there is no danger of our popsicles melting. Even though our water tanks are fairly full we can also make our own water, so we're looking good there too. 

She's ready! Sails and canvas removed. Surfboard and kayak tied down tightly.

The wind is now creeping into the mid 30 knots and Cinnabar is heeling over in her slip. I think maybe our "wind event" has begun.

Oh, and I just heard on the radio that a sailboat has run aground out in the channel and several people are going to launch their dinghies and try to pull them off!! Sounds like the Mexican Navy might get involved in the rescue as well. Not a great time to run aground. Never a dull moment around here.

We and Cinnabar are well-prepared and feeling safe. More later...


  1. Reminds me of preparing for typhoon in Taiwan. Stock up food and water for 2-3 days, board up the windows. Anticipate no electricity and water for the duration.
    Are you stay in hotel or on the boat? Good luck.


  2. Since it's most likely not going to be a hurricane I think we'll stay on the boat, although we do have 2 hotels very close to us. Sounds like you have more experience with this sort of thing than we do!

  3. Well documented hurricane coverage! Nice job, esp. about the dirt and dust swirls. Hope Cinnibar is back to her clean self by now. L&L