Jonathan Roldan – BAJA BEAT

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Thursday, September 14, 2017
Woulda — Coulda — Shoulda
Friday, October 13, 2017
Buddy, do you have some change?

Hear me now, believe me later
UPDATE: Originally predicted to be a hurricane that could impact Baja, Norma only briefly became a weak Category 1 storm. It’s track ultimately shifted further west eliminating the possibility of making landfall in areas impacted by Lydia. Par for the course this time of year in southern Baja.


In my last column, I was tapping away on my laptop just about a week after Tropical Storm Lidia smacked Southern Baja right in the nose. Three weeks later, a lot of us are still digging out to a greater or lesser degree, especially, Cabo San Lucas.

It never quite became a hurricane, but it didn’t have to. It was just as deadly — just as damaging.

I have been writing this ­column for over a decade. I have often documented what it’s like going through one of these uber-storms. By my last count, I think I’ve gone through eight hurricanes now and numerous tropical storms and depressions.

Lately, Mother Nature sure seems to be tee-ing off on our part of the hemisphere with ­hurricanes, fires and earthquakes. It’s awfully humbling.

So, here I sit again.

However, instead of writing post-storm, I’m writing waiting for the newest, latest weather aberration, “Norma” to come rumbling our way up the Baja peninsula.

It started as a blip of “intermittent showers” on the weather forecast. Within 30 hours, it grew to a tropical storm. Then, it grew to a hurricane. And now, back to a tropical depression. But, it’s still coming.

So say the forecasts. In the crosshairs.

Given how Lidia treated us last month, Norma has every reason to cause bunched-up-underwear levels. For those of us who live down here and deal with nature on a daily basis; and who work and run businesses here; it’s faced with no small measure of trepidation.

Maybe, the anxiety is ­enhanced by the fact that we are in the hospitality business. Other people’s well-being amplifies the ominousness. That’s just the way it is when you live in a resort area. Bottom line, we have other people to look after.

Ask those poor folks in the Caribbean who are digging out from Hurricane Irma whose livelihoods are based on tourism… ­hotels… fishing… restaurants… etc. We have extra people we must answer to and be responsible for.

So, sitting here, I’ve often ­written about the destructive results of these meteorological calamities. The torrential rain… the wind that sounds like a freight train… the utter darkness… falling trees… buildings blown to bits… flooding… mud and rockslides. No water or electricity for days or weeks. It’s impossible to understate the immensity.

But, sitting here, the STOOPID sun is out! Yeah, it looks like a postcard.

There’s barely a ripple on the water. A gentle breeze strokes the edges of the overhanging palapa roof. It’s 92 degrees outside and kids are playing with a rubber tube on the beach. Dad’s got a beer in hand. Mom’s reading a book.

What’s wrong with this picture?

According to the weather reports, all heck should be breaking loose real soon. The heavens are gonna tear open a new one. Armageddon 2.0 is on the way. Noah, get the ark ready!

The port captain has closed the marinas down for two days now. All boat traffic including fishing, diving, whalewatching and touring vessels are prohibited from leaving the harbor.

But… but… but… there’s not a cloud in the sky right now! C’mon, man! Are you serious?

We have clients boxed up in their rooms chomping at the bit to fish. That’s why they’re here. Or they’re tying on a serious buzz at the pool bar.

I’ve seen this before. Too many days of this and it could get fugly.

It’s one thing to explain to folks that they can’t go out and play when it’s the deluge. The sky is falling. The drain is open. Even the fish are hiding, as are all ­creatures great and small.

It’s an entirely different issue trying to ask folks to keep their patience when the sun is out and it looks like a perfectly good day to be out on the water. But, some picky-ninny bureaucrat has closed the port and ruined all the fun.

It’s like Disneyland. It’s the “happiest place on earth” until you’ve waited in line and the ride breaks down!

It’s not supposed to happen on YOUR turn. On YOUR vacation.

None of us want it to happen either. Believe me, if we could control the weather, we would! I’d grow back my hair and be taller, too. But, it’s not gonna happen.

I don’t like it when we get told we can’t play. It’s like getting a time-out as a kid. Yeah, I’m gonna pout too! It looks perfectly fine to go romp in the sand box and play in the water.

But, I get it too.

And I have to remind myself and try to communicate that to my clients that safety is the preeminent aspect in play.

The fisherman sitting in his room or hanging out at the pool often cannot see the forest for the trees. It might look calm in the bay. The sun could be out, but outside it could be howling wind and giant waves.

Unseen rollers and breakers could be out there already.

I’ve seen the deadly result when folks ignore the warnings not to take the boat out or not to go into the surf. Mother ­Nature is an unforgiving witch when she’s angry and you ­disregard the signs.

Here’s the biggest rub.

Remember, you’re in Mexico. If you get in trouble “out there,” especially when there’s warnings posted, chances are, you’re on your own. There’s no other boats that were foolish enough to go out. The Coast Guard isn’t going to look for you. There’s no vessel assist program.

Often attempts at rescue, the rescuer is also lost. A double tragedy.

So for now, we’re just gonna heed the warnings and sit here in the sunshine. And wait for the storm to hit. We watch and wait for the impending storm clouds. We will endeavor to keep calm and chive on.

It’s times like this that I really pray for even a little rain to start. Bring on some clouds and ­thunder to justify keeping everyone on the beach. PLEASE! It’s better than sunshine.

In the meantime… Keep everyone close and pass the ­suntan lotion. Keep the blender going, too. Hopefully, they’ll forget there’s not a cloud in the sky.

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