Survivorman: Hurricane Blanca On The Tip of Baja

Preparations had been going at levels of concern, up to hysteria, around Los Zacatitos for days. Some of these folks got bulldozed in the Cat 3 Odile, last September, and harbor short memories.

For me, the problem was science. There exist physical absolutes in the universe, and Earth and its conscious inhabitants are not excluded. Ideally, the human mind is a reality integrating organ, never a reality creating one. Just as naturally—we’re social animals—there was a level of understandable crowd hysteria that I took in stride. Like I said, for many, Odile was an outrage, never-happens-again deal for a lot of folks: some of whom have still not bothered—or are financially unable—to rebuild from. But on the other hand, history, per se, is not omniscient.

So, the science. It took like 5 minutes of Googling to reach absolute certainty that even if this Cat 4 Hurricane 750 miles south of us—feeding on the warmest seas in EastPac—hit us head-on dead-center, it would be some high wind gusts and heavy rain at most, tropical storm like. And even that didn’t happen.

IMG 3293
3-4 Hours Before Closest Point of Approach

Preps for me were rather simple. After all, I came down here nearly two weeks ago with my stuff in the back of the X5, and plenty of rear view visibility, and I’m renting. So the calculation is merely about doing what’s necessary to continue living here, and not like for so many others, thousands in investments to protect.

…But the science just wasn’t there. Meteorology. Thing is, there are absolute physical reasons you can’t have a twister in Manitoba—similar to why you can’t have a hurricane hit Baja in June. 250 miles out, the water is too cool. What fuels hurricanes? Very warm sea water. What not only saps but pulls energy from hurricanes? Cool water. In fact, a hurricane can literally burn itself out by getting so strong that it churns up enough cold ocean below, that it begins pulling cold water into itself in a natural seppuku.

Nature is dominated by negative feedback mechanisms, not positive. You don’t see nuclear fusion and fission happening alongside the trail on your average walk. Think about that next time someone tells you that global warming has no checks and balances, is just a hockey stick. I digress.

…So I did the minimal and it worked out. Still, I was not unscathed.

IMG 3294
Blanca Path of Destruction

I really hope I’m not perceived as making fun of many folks who went extra hundreds of miles in preparation when in fact, I harbor deep admiration for the self sufficiency, we’re-on-our-own ethic I witnessed. Now some of y’all are basically set for the season.

So silver lining.

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  1. bioking on June 8, 2015 at 16:30

    The outdoor lighting in this photo works well for you. Most of your photos have been indoors or at night from memory.

    • MissMcGillicuddy on June 9, 2015 at 04:44


    • bioking on June 10, 2015 at 00:25

      Perhaps. I fear my love is unrequited though.

  2. tatertot on June 8, 2015 at 18:52

    Be DAMN glad you weren’t sitting in that chair, man!

    • Richard Nikoley on June 8, 2015 at 19:38

      You know it, man. Thing is, after a survey of my own place, there was the neighbor, and unless I email her first, then I have to reply.

      But my knees were shaking in terms of what I might find, have to email her about. Broken twig? Holy shit. A bloom of petals that got deflowered before the time was right? Holy mother of doG.

      But I persevered, throughout an arduous day.

  3. michael goroncy on June 8, 2015 at 19:58

    Unlikely to be ‘Harvard ‘ trained psychologists in your area to counsel you through this trauma. Although with your ‘massive following’ who will give support, I am sure you will eventually find ‘Closure’… gotta love that word (it helps you pass stools more smoothly).
    I am up for starting a ‘relief fund’ to pay for paint for the chair.
    BTW: WTF are you doing with ‘arse punishing’ wrought iron chairs…..Oops! Sorry, forgot the rental factor.

  4. Cool on June 9, 2015 at 05:26

    Is it me or does Richard look like Dean DeLeo of STP in this pic?

  5. Dave McCracken on June 9, 2015 at 05:51

    Hi Richard,

    Sigh. Living by the ocean. I spend what time I can near any ocean. Kudos on making this happen for yourself.

    On another note, twisters do happen in Manitoba. I lived there for about 30 years. Oklahoma quality? No, but funnel clouds are not uncommon, and some do touch down. This site lists Canadian tornados, and you’ll see plenty of mention of Manitoba:

    That’s my nitpick for the day :). Keep up the reports from Baja. In addition to nearly anything to do with the ocean, I’m interested in off-the-grid electricity. What are you doing for fresh water and sewage – is there a municipal infrastructure? Cheers,


    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2015 at 08:17

      Hey Dave.

      Yea, one of your countrymen assholes, my friend Paul, already pointed this out to me, not content to leave it alone where I was just picking any Canadian city because I think it’s funny to say Manitoba in the Fargo kinda accent, like

      Jesus. Picky Canadians. :)

      Anyway, water is by private delivery trucks, $65 for 10,000 liters. Gas is your typical propane and that runs the cooking and refrigerator, hot water heater which I don’t have on. Sewage is a septic system. All gray water drains to the plant beds surrounding the house or in the case of the upstairs large jacuzzi tub, to a capture tank you can hook a hose up to to water specific plant areas.

      Cool, eh?

  6. John on June 9, 2015 at 06:40

    I’ve lived in South Florida my whole life…Except for 2004 when a year I spent in Huntsville, AL. My family has some great pictures, without me, of the hurricane cleanup they did on our property.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2015 at 08:29

      Not sure what that means, John. Does my post suggest there’s never anything to worry about? No, it suggests that you don’t worry about the things you worry about in August, in June, particularly when the basic meteorology will not support hurricane force winds within 250 miles.

    • John on June 9, 2015 at 08:51

      I’m just sharing a story of hurricanes, and how I dodged a major catastrophe, on a blog post about hurricanes.

      I understand from the last paragraph of this post that you expect this might be a touchy subject for some. If I felt you were not worried about the hurricane unreasonably, I wouldn’t imply that, I’d say it directly.

      Hurricanes have been a part of my life, and watching the prep hysteria is typically hilarious. I do hate waiting for gas when the non-natives are clogging the stations because they saw the news story on the treacherous tropical depression, though.

      There’s something meditative about being on the beach when one of those tropical systems is around.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2015 at 09:01

      OK, cool.

  7. Jer on June 9, 2015 at 09:28

    I’m also resident south FL. Local news stations love it when hurricane season rolls around – mass hysteria = higher ratings. Weather Channel also does their 24 hour coverage, pumping it up.

    • Richard Nikoley on June 9, 2015 at 09:31

      Exactly right. Even the stuff coming out of The Weather Channel is hyped and useless.

      If you want to get the straight story, go to the National Weather Service or, in this case, National Hurricane Center in Miami.

      Also, local sane meteorologists who go to the source and have experience interpreting for a specific are.

      I was using this site’s weather section.

  8. Jimmah on June 9, 2015 at 15:59

    You look like Jeffrey Lebowski…..come back to your sense man!,,

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