As of Monday:Mexico pushes back against Hurricane Odile devastation
Locals are reporting a massive repair and cleanup by all facets of the Mexican government; airport to reopen no earlier than the 26th; see hotel reopening projections (below)
BY PAT McDONELL
WON Staff Writer
CABO SAN LUCAS-- The aftermath of Hurricane Odile on Cabo San Lucas Sept. 14 left massive destruction to the marinas and town as documented by the media and Facebook accounts as the horror unfolded.
But by the Friday and through the weekend the military and federal and local government and businesses combined efforts to restore order, repair roads, clean debris, and begin the task of rebuilding.
While Mexico is usually accused of being slow to repair or build, the full force of Mexico’s government was enlisted. Heavy equipment for roads, troops on every corner and patrolling neighborhoods day and night, ground crews and helicopters uprighting transfer line towers and hundreds of downed power poles, a massive evacuation at the airport while jet after jet and ferries from government and relief organizations brought in food and services.
It was all on a scale that no one in Baja had every seen before. Power was restored by Monday to most areas of Cabo, all roads to La Paz and the airport and the East Cape were open in some form in one or two lanes, and markets in Cabo that had been stripped bare in looting over two days were restocked, WON learned. Similar reports were received from the East Cape and La Paz.
In a late report, it appears the airport, which received structural damage, will not reopen until Sept. 26th at the earliest. There is also the question of personnel even when it does open, as many are displaced. So do not expect normal wait times in the coming weeks.
“As it stands now, things are improving by leaps and bounds,” e-mailed longtime Cabo resident Bryan Harris of Solomon’s Landing restaurant in Cabo. He and others have been Facebooking, one of the primary methods of communication after the storm. “All facets of the Mexican government have stepped up and sent help to us in Los Cabos (and beyond). The military is clearing away the debris and rebuilding the town, literally. CFE (Federal electricity company) has sent equipment and teams of workers to help restore power to 100 percent of all of Los Cabos, and for that, we are thankful.” The restaurant reopened Tuesday with a limited menu.
Mike Tumbiero, who owns the Renegade Mike charterboat and is a WON Field Reporter, Facebooked said he was shocked at how violent the storm was as he stayed inside his home in Cabo. His boat, stripped of all outriggers and canvas and outriggers as a precaution, was not damaged. Looting and home invasions by roving bands of gangs looking for anything to steal, were rampant. Then the military moved in. By Monday, Tumbiero said the port was open, power was restored, and markets were stocked with food.
The resurrection of Cabo had begun at warp speed, but many areas of Cabo were without power as crews worked.
”Our major grocery store is up and running,” said Tumbiero on Sunmday night. “Gas stations operational, normal. There’s plenty of drinking water. Just found an ATM open so got more cash. More military showed up. They are everywhere. Going home now but coming back to marina later to see football scores.”
The reports of damage from Odile were widespread and shocking. Several large boats in the marina broke free with docks attached and slammed into others. Smaller boats, water taxis and pangas, without bilge pumps, filled with water and sunk. Several yachts after the storm were taken to Mazatlan by crews, dealing with damaged homes and no food and fearful of looting which for the most part ended after two or three days when troops arrived. In most cases, boats survived the blows, some were damaged. Most charterboats, such as those owned by the Pisces fleet, were pulled and suffered no damage, said Tracy Ehrenberg reported to WON.
“According to our Capt. Marquez, it was the most severe damage he had ever seen in Cabo San Lucas in all his 50-plus years of living there. While we had our share of rain from Odile, it was the wind and inner-harbor surge that caused so much damage.”
Hurricane Polo, on the heels of Odile, tracked West over the weekend, bouncing off the colder upwelling caused by Odile, and brought minimal wind and rain to the area as rebuilding continued.
Relief effort organizations came to the rescue. Wayne Bisbee, tournament director of the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament in Cabo San Lucas, announced a comprehensive aid plan to help.
“We’re creating a ‘call to action’ throughout the global sportfishing family to help those who have suffered so much in this natural disaster,” Bisbee said. “We’re donating $250,000 in seed money to the Bisbee’s Cabo Relief Fund and are asking our generous fellow anglers to help out by donating themselves. The money will be routed through the Rotary Club International’s Boulder City, NV Club to get where it’s needed the most.”
“The second prong of our plan is to help the sportfishing operators get back on the water, so they can again earn money and support their families,” Bisbee adds. “A portion of the donations will be ear-marked to help independently-owned charter boats, bait pangas and eco-tourism guides repair their boats and replace lost gear. We will be granting small business loans and gifts to help those individuals recover. Our goal is to help the independent sportfishing businesses resume operations as quickly as possible.”
To make a donation to help support the Bisbee’s Cabo Relief Fund, please visit www.bisbee.com and look for the Donate link on the home page.
In terms of events and tournaments, a wahoo tourney is San Jose Del Cabo in five weeks was cancelled by the Puerto Los Cabos Marina, but the Marlin Magazine tourney, the Baby Bisbee’s, the Bisbee’s Black & Blue Marlin Tournament and the WON Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament Nov. 5-8 will all go on as planned.
-- MULEGE: No report this past week. A mess. Flooding. As with most of those areas, updates will be on wonews.com as we get them.
-- LORETO: Loreto got very lucky with Hurricane Odile. There was wind damage everywhere you looked but not a lot of serious problems.
“Many of the beach palapas north of the marina were destroyed,” Rick Hill of Loreto Sea and Land Eco Tours said. “People with palapa roofs and composite shingle roofs will be tearing what's left off and rebuilding. Electric service was back by midnight, with some off times the next day. The rain count was not as high as our previous storm. But four inches of rain at 100 miles per hours does get everything wet. Our local road damage was all repaired within 48 hours.”
“We had one trip on the water after the storm,” Hill said. “Some dorado crazy anglers wanted to circle the debris paddies. But a late start and no live bait produced none and they ended up with the Loreto assortment of bottomfish including pinto bass, reds and triggerfish.”
“It will take a week for all the tiny particles to settle out before the dorado will be back in town,” Hill said. “Loreto was very lucky with this past storm, more so than any other part of Baja Sur except the East Cape.”
-- MAGDALENA BAY: Bob Hoyt from Mag Bay Outfitters said as of Saturday they still had no power or water. “We just got cell service back,” he said. “There are a few trees down. But the gas station tank blew over so there’s no gas in town. Otherwise, everything is pretty good. The road to Lopez is always passable accept for the usual pot holes.”
-- LA PAZ: From Jonathan Roldan of Tailhunters in a last-minute report: “We have had pangas fishing the last few days, but catching has been tougher as the waters are all turned up. But we're fully operational and taking walk-in reservations daily. The city took a bad hit, but cleanup was quick once the troops moved in and the evacuation from Cabo was completed. Photos of the bay and hotels and malecon took as though little had happened. An amazing effort.
--EAST CAPE: Like the rest of Baja Sur, there is a lot of cleaning up to do, but things are much better here than they are in Cabo. As of Monday, there was still no power or internet but generators were providing interim power. Markets were restocked and hotels were cleaned up and awaiting visitors. The airport flights were the primary issue.
“We had four boats go out on Wednesday and Thursday and they landed some 40-pound tuna, a few dorado and some sailfish,” Eddie Dalmau from Palmas de Cortez said.
“The hotels are both in good shape,” Dalmau said. “We lost the palapa at Playa Del Sol, which was the small palapa covering the bar. Palmas had five broken windows and minor palapa damage. We are running generators at both hotels so we have internet and the land lines are working but there is no federal power, water or cell service yet.”
“It is sad what has happened down south of us at Buenavista Beach Resort, and our hearts and prayers go out to everyone,” Felipe Valdez said. “But here at the resort the only problems we had were a few downed trees and branches, much of which has been cleaned up already. To look at our place you wouldn’t know anything had happened except we are running our generator.”
- SAN JOSE DEL CABO (LOS CABOS): No power so no report but the marina is said to be 85 percent in order, although it sustained a lot of broken windows. The stackable boat storage sustained little or no damage, WON learned. The panga fleet marina was hit hard, and there was some damage to the rip-rap from storm surge and huge swells.
Club Vagabundos sent these road reports:
-Roads throughout Baja California Sur are flooded and impassable. We highly recommend not traveling south of San Quintin at this time. Below are specific updates are we are hearing them:
-Highway 1 at Cataviña (km 193) is flooded and damaged
-There is no passage through Vizcaino. San Pablo arroyo has 2 meters of water. And one of the bridges near Palo Verde collapsed.
-L.A. Bay is inaccessible with the main arroyo flooded.
-The road from Los Barriles to the San Jose del Cabo airport is not passable as the bridge at Caduaño is down.It was expected to be repaired or passable by the end of the weekend.
-In Mulege the first arroyo south of Coyote on the highway has been washed out
-The road between Loreto and Tripui is open
-The road to La Paz from Cabo is passable, but it’s down to one lane
-In Santa Rosalía, the road is open north to Vizcaíno and south to La Paz but it is rough
-Some bits of road near Todos Santos are damaged, but not completely, so that they can be used with care and order
-Las Cuevas bridge is open, Caduaño bridge is not. Road is open from La Ribera to Los Barriles
-Roads between San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas are clear and safe to travel
-The road between Loreto and La Paz is open.
-Fuel is another issue for anyone considering driving
Alphabetical Listing of Hotel Damage & Reopening Update as of Sept 20, 2014
Bahia Hotel - Only minimal damage. Oct 30 "or sooner".
Barcelo Grand Faro - Still Assessing. Tentatively Sept 22
Cabo Azul - December
Cabo Pulmo Resort - Minimal damage. Operational.
Cabo Villas - Minimal damage. Sept 27
Capella Pedral - Oct 1
Casa Dorada - Oct 9
Club Cascadas - Oct 15
Club Regina - Oct 31
Dreams - Cosmetic damage and debris - No structural damages. Oct 15.
East Cape Resorts - Minor damage - fully operational.
East Cape RV – Three trees down - no major damage to trailers or palapas - no damage to boats.
Esperanza - October 13
Fiesta Americana - Nov 15 for big corporate group - Nov 23 for individual reservations.
Finisterra (Sandos) - Tentative date of October 1.
Grand Mayan - Significant damage. Closed for approx 2 months.
Grand Solmar - Oct 22
Hacienda Beach Club - Oct 15
Hacienda del Mar - Oct 31
Hacienda Encantada - Oct 15
Hilton Los Cabos - Still Assessing.
Holiday Inn – Nov 1st
Hotel Los Pescadores - Closed for a week or so.
Hyatt Place - Oct17
Hyatt Ziva – Oct 17
Las Ventanas - Assessing damage. Update to be released Sept 22.
Los Barriles - Minor damage. Fully operational.
Los Cabos Golf Resort - Closed for 2 weeks for clean-up.
Marina Fiesta - Oct 15
ME Cabo - Oct 16
Melia Real - Oct 15
One & Only Palmilla - Oct 15
Playa Grande - Oct 22
Pueblo Bonito Blanco (Los Cabos) - No structural damage - . Oct 1
Pueblo Bonito Montecristo - No structural damage. Oct 1
Pueblo Bonito Rose - No structural damage. Oct 1
Pueblo Bonito Pacifica - No structural damage. Oct 1
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach - No structural damage. Oct 1
Quinta del Sol - Oct 22
Rancho Leonero - Minimal damage. Fully operational.
Riu Palace - No official word at the time of this writing.
Riu Santa Fe - Significant damage. No official info at the time of this writing.
Royal Decameron - Oct 17
Royal Solaris - Oct 10
Secrets Marquis - Cosmetic damage – No serious structural damages. Oct 15.
Secrets Puerto Los Cabos - Cosmetic damage - No structural damage. Oct 15.
Sheraton - Significant damage. Closed until "at least" October 31.
Solmar - Oct 22
Villa del Arco - Oct 1
Villa del Palmar -. Oct 1
Villa La Estancia -.Oct 1
Westin - Oct 31.
Worldmark Coral Baja - Jan 31
Wyndham - Oct 1.
Zoetry - Oct 15.