Skip to content

Musings On Swine Flu

"I, like the Grand Poobah of the Ha-Ha, need to go to Mexico to retrieve my boat in Puerto Los Cabos and bring her back to San Diego prior to the June 1 start of hurricane season," writes Lou Freeman of the San Diego-based Swan 51 Seabird. "I’m not interested in taking a large risk with the flu pandemic in the area or getting marooned somewhere in between — including an airport. Here are some thoughts to consider, albeit from a retired anesthesiologist.

"The vast majority of flu victims, in the past and apparently now, seem to recover without difficulty. This swine strain has a 48-hour incubation period, a rapid course, and there has only been one death in the United States. The deaths in Mexico are now about 150 of the 2,000 reported cases. On the face of it, it seems like a terrifying mortality rate. However, Mexico and Mexico City have huge populations and a vastly different level of medical care and reporting. With the conditions in Mexico City considered, I am pretty certain that the actual number of cases is at least in the 100,000 to 1,000,000 range — if not far higher. Deaths are more likely to get reported than routine cases, but it’s likely that many have not been reported. Even with a 1% mortality rate and the number of cases in the 100,000 to 1,000,000 range, there would be at least 1,000 to 10,000 bodies in Mexico City. They would be pretty hard to miss!

"I plan to vet this unsolicited opinion with some former colleagues, and I’m certainly not giving anyone a legal medical opinion. However, I will probably go get my boat next week, allowing for several miserable days at anchor under a yellow flag, and then move north.

"Finally, anti-viral drugs are in short supply and very expensive, so beware of the black-market fakes."

For more on the swine flu situation as it might affect some cruisers or boatowners in Mexico, Ronnie ‘Tea Lady’ offers the following from Puerto Vallarta:

"To date there are no confirmed cases in either Jalisco or Nayarit (Puerto Vallarta). Some 160 people have been tested; they were all negative. I have seen supermarket and bank staff wearing masks – but some of them are wearing them under their noses! I did see two other people with masks on — Canadians in their car with the windows up. The Jalisco Governor has ordered the temporary closing of all PV nightclubs — apart from regular party goers, he’s worried that the young people from other areas will come down to make the most of their unexpected free time.The Mexicans I have spoken to seem calm — none of the alleged hysteria happening in Mexico City — and seem confident that the beneficial sea breezes will help keep our air virus-free. I am in touch with our clients, some of whom were due to come down for a visit soon and are waiting to see how the situation develops. Main concerns are catching it in-flight with that recycled air, or at airports."

Odd fact to try to put in context, or help put things in context: Some 36,000 people in the U.S. die from the ‘regular’ flu each year.

Several people have written in to ask if we still plan to do the Ha-Ha this fall. Seeing that the Ha-Ha doesn’t start for six months, and that it’s very likely the swine flu will have run its course long before then, the answer is yes, we plan to do the Ha-Ha this fall. By the way, folks can sign up for the Ha-Ha starting May 1 by going to

Leave a Comment

Okay, so we know it looks like we just told Katinka Kieliger to stand next to Seaward’s wheel, but you better believe it – this girl can drive!