The aftermath of Hurricane Norma, which made a significant impact in Los Cabos, is still being felt in a nearby city that’s popular with tourists for its natural beauty and wildlife adventures.
La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur and home to adventures such as swimming with whale sharks and visiting the amazing Isla Espiritu Santo, is now at environmental risk from boats stranded by the strong tropical weather system in the Bay of La Paz.
The contaminants recently spotted floating in the bay will make travelers to the area think twice before considering getting into the water.
Boats in the Bay Leaking Fuel
According to several La Paz tour operators which conduct boat voyages for travelers, the bay of La Paz is full of fuel leaking from 32 boats that were damaged or capsized by the wrath of Hurricane Norma.
They have spotted the signature of fuel spills with hydrocarbons floating on the water via drone and several stains around rocks and other shoreline amenities.
Concerned about the environmental impact on ocean animals and sensitive island coastlines which support tourism in the area, tour boat owners have issued an urgent appeal to the Mexican federal government to quickly remove the damaged boats and clean up the fuel spills.
They believe that not only will the fuel spill affect the local wildlife, but it will also hurt the tourism business in La Paz and potentially make visitors to the area sick from the smell and possible ingestion of fuel while in the water.
It may also have a longer-term impact on the overall perception of La Paz as a beach destination for travelers from all over the world.
Don’t Enter the Water
The fuel spill has gotten so bad that even the Baja California Sur state government has become involved, telling tourists and citizens to avoid getting in the water.
Recently, the Governor of the State of Baja California Sur Víctor Manuel Castro Cosío issued an official declaration calling on people to avoid getting in the water of the bay of La Paz.
He called on federal environmental officials to review the issue and test the water to avoid additional damage to the delicate ocean ecosystem of the area.
What’s at Risk
About 26 kilometers, or about 16 miles, off the shore of La Paz, is one of the most unique and fragile natural ecosystems in the area.
Isla Espiritu Santo is so special it was declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO back in 1995.
It is an important eco-tourism site for the entire region and is home to more than 1,300 species of animals, including ocean life unique to the area.
La Paz is also a special place in the area where tourists can enjoy swimming with whale sharks, one of the largest fish in the world.
Tourists can take a boat voyage out of the area where these unique animals swim and enjoy spending some time in the water with one of the gentle giants of the sea.
If these special areas were affected by floating fuel spills, it could not only affect the animals, but also the tourism that these special areas bring.
What Tourists Need to Know
Until the fuel spills are cleaned up, tourists should follow the advice from Governor of the State of Baja California Sur Víctor Manuel Castro Cosío and avoid getting into the water.
That would include the local coastline on the bay of La Paz, which also could become covered with fuel and potentially oil.
Hopefully the issue becomes resolved so that tourists to La Paz can not only enjoy the town’s beautiful beaches, but also connect with animals and fragile ecosystem that love to call the area home.
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