Baja Ha-Ha XXV 2019 Cruisers Rally
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Nada Ha-Ha 2020


UPDATE - September 1, 2020 - The rate of infection is dropping in Baja Sur, as well as the number of active cases. La Paz has gone to category Orange #4 which permits all private navigation. Beaches and islands should be opening up this week!

The following responses (in italics) to your questions and concerns were written by Neil Schroyer in August of 2020. Neil is the owner of Marina de La Paz and President of The Marinas of Mexico Association.

“Reading articles on Noonsite, etc., it appears like Baja Sur is still in a "red" state of emergency (according Noonsite posting anyway), and a few other articles I’ve read have stated cruisers are not feeling that welcome down there.  I know hotels and such are open now in Cabo and La Paz, but still sounds like it's not back to normal for cruisers?”
Baja California Sur has it´s own stop light system, Green, Yellow 2, Yellow 3, Orange 4, Orange 5 and Red 6.
We are currently (August 21) in Orange 5. Which allows a series of tourism activities including Sport Fishing, Yachting and Sailing, restricted to a 30% occupancy.

“If it is legal to go to Mexico, then we would be interested in either the official Ha-Ha or the Nada.”
Yes, it is legal for anyone to travel to Mexico, there are no travel restrictions for a non-Mexican tourist.
USA has restricted non US citizens from entering USA by land if it is not for an essential or life threatening reason.

“My current goal and plan is to have my boat in San Diego in late October and ready to head south. Of course everything will depend on the situation with the virus, how welcome we Americans will be in Mexico, etc.”
Americans, and all foreigners are as welcome as ever to Mexico. Hotels, restaurants and services are open most places, with various degrees of occupancy limits.
“I am still interested.  The Virus thing is the only concern, but other than that, I am ready to go. I understand I will be safe at anchor but it’s the going ashore part that concerns me.”
Mexico´s COVID 19 infection rate is similar to the USA´s infection rate as well as per capita death rate. While this is not very comforting, since these rates in USA are high, you certainly would not be in any more danger in Mexico than in USA.
A good sign is that the number of Active Cases in Baja California Sur is now on the downswing.
“It's unfortunate that the pandemic has created this wave of uncertainty regarding this year's Baja Ha-Ha. At this time, I do not feel that it is safe to travel in Mexico. Mexico currently has the third highest death toll in the entire world due to the pandemic and lacks the health, hygiene, and safety standards to ensure safe travel. Unlike many people, I assume responsibility for my own safety and, as such, do not believe that travel in Mexico is safe at this time. So, whether or not the Baja Ha-Ha organizers go forward with the official running of the Ha-Ha, I won't be participating this year and will instead set my sights on a wonderful 2021 Ha-Ha.”
I fully respect this point of view, especially the worry about Mexico´s health care weakness. If you get sick, the attention you may get could be less than what you could expect to get in the USA. Having said that, in BCS the beds being used is about 50% of the total COVID beds available, so hospitals still have capacity. Fortunately the number of active cases is currently declining, which should mean a reduction of stress on the health care system in BCS. Regarding the high death rate, per capita, it does not have the third highest, just like the USA does not have the highest death rate per capita either. Mexico and USA have large populations so the total number of deaths in Mexico is similar to England´s, which has half Mexico´s population.

“I’m hearing not so good rumors about Mexico not exactly being the SAFEST place in the world to be, however – this from returning cruisers.”
Yes, Mexico is having problems with safety in certain parts of the country, but even in those hot spots, very little of the safety issues involve foreigners. I live in La Paz and I can say for sure Baja California Sur is safe. If you are prudent, do not go to the types of places you would normally stay away from in the USA, you will be fine.
Even if you went places you probably should not, I would be very surprised if you did end up in trouble. If you are involved in illegal activities, then you may get into trouble.

“What we’re hearing is that the health security situation in CA and Mexico isn’t appropriate for young folks like us (64 / 56). Our crew is of similar ages and mindset. 
Yes, age is a factor in mortality from COVID 19, and Mexico´s health system is not as robust as the US´s therefore this is an issue to be considered.
We’re also hearing the MX ports are closed or discouraging transients going between ports. While the Ha-Ha events are a fun part of the experience, not being able to safely cruise post Ha-Ha is the major concern we’re having.
Mexico´s navigation is not closed, so you can travel freely from port to port. Mexico is opening up it’s economy more and more, and it is highly improbable that it would go back to a more restricted environment. Having said the above, navigation from port to port was never closed down even during the most restrictive of Mexico’s lock-down.
So, we’re taking it day by day. Other considerations:
What are the chances the US / Mexico border situation will change… what are the chances of being stuck on one side wanting to be on the other?
Mexico has not closed its boarders to international travel, even at the peak of the lock-down when all hotels and restaurants were closed it did not and does not obligate quarantine either. I do not see this as a problem. If you are not a US citizen, it may be a problem getting back in to the USA.
Will MX even issue a TIP given the border / disease situation?
Yes, Mexico will not stop issuing TIPs, TIP’s are a Customs document that has to do with a vessel being legal in Mexico, and it does not involve travel or the people on board.
What are the chances our second largest asset (boat) will be stuck in MX?
No chance, navigation never was closed down, either inter coastal (cabotage) or international, and Mexico is opening up its economy, more and more.
If one of us were to become ill with Covid19 in Mexico, could we even get back to the US for care?”
You can always charter an Air Ambulance, (check your insurance policy) or drive back to the USA. I am not sure that regular airlines would allow a noticeably sick patient to fly. If you get seriously ill and can´t travel there are high end private hospitals in Cabo San Lucas treating COVID 19 and there are many private doctors that will supervise your progress at home if you are not in critical condition. There is also the Public Health System´s hospitals, which, for all their wants, is doing an OK job nursing critical patients back to good health. Respirators are available and they seem to be up to date on the latest treatments available.

“I’m interested in the Ha-Ha however I’m wondering if Mexico will allow us in and I’m also concerned with the amount of Covid in Mexico.”
Mexico has never limited travel even in lock down, even during its tightest lock down. Navigation has always stayed open and there is nothing to indicate it may be closed. Airports, highways and ports stayed open. Mexico is on a path to opening it economy back up and I do not see any intention of backing away from that trend.
The amount of COVID is less in Mexico, per capita, than in the USA. Even if you look only at the number of deaths. Per Capita we have fewer deaths than the USA, and I am pretty sure they are not under counting the number of dead. They may not be doing as much testing, so the number of reported cases may be low, but I do not think they are misrepresenting the fatality numbers. Chances of getting COVID 19 is probably higher in USA than in Mexico at this time, and personal habits are the main factor of whether you get sick in either USA or Mexico.

Practice social distancing, wear a face mask and demand that others near you do the same. Always disinfect all items being handled or brought aboard. Wash your hands or use alcohol gel as frequently as possible. Avoid crowded places, do not go out if you do not need to. Supermarkets like Walmart are delivering food to your boat, so you can avoid shopping if you wish. If you are out and sailing about, practice social distancing from other cruisers, and if you have a gathering (not recommended) do it out doors, with masks and avoiding close contact.

August 21, 2020

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