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Storm Adds to Baja Adventure

They are again fishing for tuna, dorado and marlin in the East Cape area after a hurricane.

October 03, 2003|Pete Thomas | Times Staff Writer

Word was slow to get out after a recent big storm tore across the southern half of the Baja California peninsula. But it soon became clear that Hurricane Marty had been far more destructive than anyone expected it would be.

"Power and phone posts were snapped like toothpicks," Mark Rayor, owner of Vista Sea Sport in the East Cape town of Buena Vista, said in a satellite e-mail hours after the stormSept. 22.

"We had more than 100-mph winds at 4:30 a.m. Broke windows out of our house. The whole town is without water, power, or phone. The road is closed, and we can't get in or out. Looks like it might be weeks. There is damage everywhere I look. I will be in contact when regular service is restored."

That was two days later. Power and electricity were brought back within days in Cabo San Lucas and La Paz, although the latter city was left with the task of rebuilding damaged marinas and raising sunken boats.

But in between those large communities, at the sparsely populated East Cape, a sense of normalcy returned only this week.

Flooded sections of highway leading to Cabo San Lucas and La Paz were reopened Sunday. Power was restored Tuesday. Gas is finally available at the lone service station.

"It finally seems like business as usual," Rayor said Tuesday afternoon.

That, of course, means fishing. One hotel received a group of 20 guests Monday, and they were at sea early Tuesday. Another had its entire fleet in the water.

"They're catching a lot of tuna, a few dorado and a reasonable amount of marlin," Rayor said.

What's odd, he and others have pointed out, is that dorado fishing remains surprisingly slow. The popular game fish, also called mahi mahi, likes to gather beneath floating objects -- and there is debris washed from the beaches in every direction.

Perhaps just as odd is the abundance of tuna, which typically don't like dirty water.

Said Gary Graham, the owner of the Baja on the Fly guide service: "Are things back to normal at East Cape? Hardly, but things are literally improving hourly, and while some patience is needed, most clients are enjoying what they consider another Baja adventure."

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