Excellent News Out of Bahia Santa Maria for Ha-Ha Fleet
The Grand Poobah is busy preparing for the 27th Baja Ha-Ha rally’s November 1 launch in San Diego. Along with organizing tables and chairs for the expected 500 or so party guests, he’s also been confirming arrangements for the events and parties that will be held in various locations throughout the fleet’s two-week, 750-mile-long journey.
To this end, the Poobah has shared some good news from Bahia Santa Maria.
“Our longtime host Victor, at left in the photo below, reports that everybody in the Mexican village of Mateo Lopez, where all the hosts for the Ha-Ha BSM rock ‘n’ roll party come from, has been vaccinated. And that there are currently zero COVID cases in Mateo Lopez.”
“Similarly, all our dear friends from La Paz who have played in the band for so many years have been vaccinated, too. Victor says everyone is very excited for the arrival of the Ha-Ha fleet, and that they’ll have plenty of ice-cold beer, lots of freshly cooked lunches — and plenty of gel!”
The 27th Baja Ha-Ha kicks off just over six weeks from now. We’re seeing the signs of preparation and planning all over the Bay Area. The other day, we caught our neighbors cleaning their dinghy and painting its bottom. They did a good job of it too!
Are you signed up, and if so, what are you doing to prepare for this year’s Baja Ha-Ha?
It was sad to see the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival be cancelled due to COVID. It seems an over reaction as reasonable precautions are available to allow for an outdoor event like this to proceed. On the other hand, it will be interesting to see what – if any – guidance the Ha Ha leadership gives to participants of this years event. The answer to date is not a word said. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach so far by the Ha Ha doesn’t seem reasonable or prudent either. It will be interesting to see what the next 6 weeks brings.
Joseph – thanks for your note. We’re passing along the COVID message the Grand Poo Bah is sending to the Baja Ha-Ha participants:
THE BAJA HA-HA AND COVID — SEEKING THE MIDDLE GROUND BETWEEN UNDUE ALARM AND COMPLACENCY
The official Ha-Ha policy, as of 09/16/2021, is that participants will not be required to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative Covid test. However, the Poobah urges everyone, in the strongest possible terms, to be fully vaccinated before the November 1 start. Reason one is that the vaccines have proven to be safe and effective. Reason two is that there is no meaningful healthcare in the 700 miles between Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas. Besides, who wants to be that irresponsible gringo who could have easily gotten vaccinated, but who ends up taking an ICU bed in a country where vaccines are difficult to come by and where there is a shortage of treatment facilities?
There is still time to get fully vaccinated, no matter if you want to use Pfizer, Moderna or J&J. The Poobah and Dona de Mallorca are both fully vaccinated, as are the 10 crew who will be aboard the mothership Profligate. The skipper and crew of Assistant Poobah Patsy Verhoeven’s Talion are all fully vaccinated. In both cases being vaccinated was a non-negotiable condition of coming on those boats. The Poobah is aware there have been cases where fully vaccinated people have gotten Covid. However, the number of cases is small, the effects are usually less severe, and mortality is primarily limited to people over 80 with some other medical condition. If you are over 80 and have a serious medical condition, the Poobah urges you not to do the Ha-Ha this year — and probably not any year.
If you are vaccinated, the Poobah believes there are several additional reasons why the Ha-Ha will be a low-risk event. This biggest reason is that experts believe the outdoors is something like 20 times less risky than being indoors, and the Ha-Ha is an all-outdoor event — except for the unofficial ‘Cheated Death’ dance party and popcorn throw at Squid Roe in Cabo San Lucas. At this time the Poobah is unsure about continuing that admittedly very popular tradition.
There is, of course, a slightly elevated risk outdoors if you are in crowded conditions. Such as at a football game with 100,000 other fans, a rock concert with 10,000 people yelling and shouting in each other’s faces, and to a lesser extent, with hundreds of people at the Ha-Ha Kick-Off Costume Party at the West Marine Superstore parking lot. As such, mirroring the current Covid protocol in Mexico, nobody will be allowed into the Kick-Off Party without having their temperature taken and getting a squirt of gel on their hands. Nurse Goodbody will be in charge and will offer to take entrant’s temperatures via an infrared, oral, or rectal thermometer. The Poobah recommends the infrared, as sometimes nurse Goodbody gets the other two devices mixed up. Sultry Nurse Goodbody will give males with elevated temperatures an opportunity to cool down before being retested. A fever doesn’t necessarily mean you have Covid, of course, maybe it’s just indicative of a cold or the flu. No matter, it still might not be the best idea to do the Ha-Ha. Participants can additionally lower the risk to themselves by 1) Wearing a mask. 2) Maintaining a 6-foot separation from others, and 3) Not standing next to the same person for more than 15 minutes. While none of the above are mandatory, the Poobah and Dona de Mallorca intend to adhere to these policies as much as possible.
By the way, for purposes of the entire Ha-Ha, the wearing of a mask is to be taken as a request by the wearer for others to keep the Mexican standard of 6-feet away. Please respect that.
For those who might still not feel safe, attendance at the Skipper’s Meeting and Kick-Off Party will be optional this year. If you are not in attendance, and you have completed all of your online waivers and offshore communication setup you will be emailed the Rally Instructions and Fleet Breakdowns just after the Skipper’s Meeting. The R&R stops at Turtle Bay and Bahia Santa Maria allow for much greater social distancing than at the Kick-Off Party in San Diego, and thus the risk should be even lower.
Dona just got off the phone with Victor, who hosts the famous rock ‘n roll party in Bahia Santa Maria each year. He reports that he and every single person in Lopez Mateo, where they all come from, has been vaccinated, there are zero Covid cases in Lopez Mateo, and that Penguin, Benny, and all the other members in the rock ‘n roll band from La Paz have been vaccinated, too. Victor will be offering hand sanitizer along with ice-cold beer and lunch.
There are no guarantees, but the Poobah believes that these multiple layers of protection available can make the Ha-Ha no less dangerous to individuals than ‘normal’ life in the States. Possibly even less so. If you disagree or are even unsure, the Poobah encourages you not to do the Ha-Ha. No matter if you are a skipper or crew, the decision and responsibility are entirely up to you.
As the Poobah writes this, he is in both Jalisco, meaning Puerto Vallarta, and Nayarit, meaning La Cruz. Life continues very much as normal here, except that everyone is required to wear a mask upon entering any kind of business or professional establishment. Many stores, such as Mega, Soriano, and Costco, also take your temperature, make you use gel, and wipe your feet on some kind of antiseptic mat before entering. They are taking this seriously, so there are no exceptions.
For those who will be continuing on their boats in Mexico, it’s our understanding that the impact of Covid on cruisers in Mexico has been almost nil in terms of cruisers getting very sick or dying.
A santé and thank you for understanding.
In reaching for the middle point between undue alarm and complacency, I’d say a spot was selected much nearer to complacency rather than one of simple prudent precaution. It is interesting that both Profligate and Talion require all crewmembers to be fully vaccinated. I am sure many, many HaHa boats will also require full vaccination for all their sailors. Undo alarm might have been once again canceling the HaHa. Requiring full vaccination for all HaHa participants at this point in time would seem to be just common sense, regardless of any dangers to Libertarian bona fides. I feel the HaHa would be showing the utmost respect for the people of Mexico by sailing a fully vaccinated fleet. Leave it to privelidged Americans to turn down a readily available vaccine that millions of Mexicans would sorely love to receive.
Very well said Mr. Hafstrom. I completely agree. And I would suspect that if any of the Ha Ha participants are of the belligerent “I have the right to get sick” type, they will likely be dealt with quite differently by the Mexican authorities than they are in the U.S.
I applaud Richard for coming up with a reasonable approach to the Ha Ha COVID guidance. Well written including a bit of levity which is hard to mix in with this topic. Jon’s point is well taken, though, and having 100% of the Americans in Mexico vaccinated, given we are their guests, would be ideal. BUT the strident, anti-vax/mask crowd is here and they will be migrating south with or without the Ha Ha. Hopefully some will heed the advice of the Poobah. I am no fan of mandates but I am a fan of accountability but, in this case, it is really up to Mexico to enforce whatever COVID guidelines they want. If the Mexican government had mandated vaccinations for foreigners that might have been the best solution.