Odile, one of the most disastrous storms to ever slam into Baja, has dominated the news for weeks. Stories – first of destruction, then of the accelerated recovery over the region from this CAT-4 Hurricane – have claimed their place in history as it cut its wide swath of devastation throughout Baja Sur.
However, as bad as the physical being of the storm was, recovery has been remarkably rapid. The hotels, restaurants and boats are all ready for visitors and guests. More important, the people of Baja are eager to return to what they do best: welcome visitors to their homeland and share their paradise.
“Everybody wants to leave the hurricane behind, but we were given this photo today and had to publish it. It says so much – it is a symbol of the resilience of the people of Cabo and the fishing community … a reminder that the mighty marlin and fishing is the foundation of what our town is built upon, something that Hurricane Odile could not overcome!,” Tracy Ehrenberg of Pisces Sportfishing posted recently.
Jack Whaley, a passenger on the first Alaska Airlines flight back, wrote: “The flight down was normal … beautiful views of the peninsula, with lots of stormy clouds mid-way from the latest tropical depression. As we approached SJD, the scenery was unusually beautiful, with the desert and mountains vivid green. The arroyos are still flowing with lots of water. The mood on the plane was festive and the conversations were loud and boisterous. As we touched down, a spontaneous whooping and clapping began. It was obvious that all on board were aware of the specialness of this first flight into SJD. Very cool, but the best was yet to come …
“I was seated in a left-side window seat, and as we approached the jetway, I could see lots of ground personnel taking photos and clapping, with lots of ‘thumbs ups’ directed to us. Very cool; still the best was yet to come …
“We walked up the jetway to the sounds of applause. Upon reaching the terminal building, there was a tunnel of airport workers high-fiving the passengers. Some were handing out ice-cold Coronas and water; passengers were handed a bag with a T-shirt and other goodies, and a mariachi band was playing off to the side! It was truly a touching experience. I have never felt so welcomed,” boasted Whaley.
By all accounts, the East Cape area suffered very little damage.
All the hotels, charter fleets and local restaurants were untouched and are ready and eager to welcome visitors. The feeling is unanimous: “Now is the time to take advantage of the fall fishing that under normal circumstances would have been booked months in advance.”
In boxes are flooded with requests for information on how to provide financial aid to the locals in Baja. Of course, there are many groups that have sprung up to provide supplies. [See the list below.]
But one of the quickest ways to help the locals is simply go on vacation and help restore the economy to the “before-the-storm” normal levels. This will allow employees, from maintenance staff to management, to return to work and receive much-needed salaries.
But it doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition – a quick vacation for you, a little fall fishing while the fishing is “hot” and a donation as well, if possible.
Paraphrasing the Beatles’ popular musical shout-out, Help!
Help us if you can, we’re feeling down
And we do appreciate you being ’round
Help us get our feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help us?
To get things started, Bisbee’s Black and Blue Tournaments’ foundation provided $250,000 in seed money to go into a relief fund for hurricane damage repair; it continues to grow.
In La Paz, Jillene Roldan has created a list:
La Paz Rises
Links for donations and other info will be up and hopefully it can be of use as a clearing house for info.
Jill Roldan started this page.
FANLAP (Judy’s kids) http://icf-xchange.org/donateonline/index.php?webkey=losninosdelapaz
Cruceros (search, rescue etc)
Waves for Water
Baja disaster relief fund (Mexican Red Cross/International Community Foundation)