Dear Friends and Family of Prana del Mar,
As many of you may have heard, the southern part of the Baja peninsula has suffered a devastating blow from the Category 3 hurricane that made landfall late Sunday night. Reports say that the intensity of this storm far surpasses any other recorded in the area and the amount of damage left in its wake is unprecedented.
First and foremost, our hearts go out to all the people of Los Cabos and the surrounding areas who have been impacted by this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as they cope with all the challenges they are currently facing as well as those they will encounter during the rebuilding process.
We are also incredibly grateful that Mariana and Benjamin – who rode out the storm at Prana del Mar – are safe and secure. As some of you know, Mariana is pregnant with her first child and is due at the end of September, so we are very relieved to know that all is well. The hurricane has altered their plan to have a home birth with a midwife at the retreat center, so they are currently seeking out appropriate hospitals that have weathered the storm and will be able to accommodate their baby when she arrives.
Cabo San Lucas and San Jose have been largely without power, gasoline, phone service, and Internet since Sunday, so we have not heard from all employees yet, but are encouraged that the area has no reported fatalities and the majority of injuries have been minor. We will update here as we get additional information.
Many thanks to all of you who have emailed and called to express your concern and support. We really appreciate all your warm and caring wishes. I (Erik) am in the States, so it has been worrying and frustrating to pace the halls with such limited communication and only tidbits of information to share, but I am very relieved to finally have more to report.
As for damage, we did not escape the wrath of the tempest. Fortunately, our facilities are well-constructed, we had invested in hurricane screens, and Benjamin and a very-pregnant Mariana did a good job of securing our buildings as best they could on short notice. With the force of the winds and the enormity of the rains, the palapa roof on the Sun Studio was damaged and several of those windows were cracked. We also had water intrude into the Community Building and some pergola structures that did not fare well. We lost about 25% of our solar panels, but fortunately all power systems are still functioning – some just have fewer solar collectors supplying them for the time being. All of the guest rooms came though very well and show very little impact.
Aside from the above, the damage is largely cosmetic. We do have a fair amount of clean up ahead of us and plenty of beautification to return the gardens to their previous state, but we are thankful that the situation is not worse.
With our season scheduled to begin in three weeks, many of you who have plans to join us soon will surely be wondering about your upcoming retreat. We feel that we will have the facility ready enough to host groups by that time, even if we are not entirely back to our former glory. Our most pressing concern, however, is with the overall state of commerce in Los Cabos and whether we will have access to all the food and supplies that are necessary to make your stay meet the standards that we expect of ourselves. Some reports have indicated that it could be a month or more before stores are approaching normal operations and shelves are fully stocked.
We will be contacting all of the teachers who have retreats planned with us before the end of the year to discuss with them individually how they would like to proceed. If you could give them a few days to digest all of this and decide upon their preferred plan of action, they will soon be determining whether to move forward, to wait-and-see on progress in Los Cabos, or to cancel or reschedule their retreats.
For those who are interested in helping out with Hurricane Relief efforts, we are hoping to create an avenue for you to contribute or to establish a list of non-profits that are providing valuable services in the area. Once we have something more definitive, we will pass along information about options that may be of interest.
In the meantime, thank you again for your warm support and loving concern during these challenging times. We are dedicated to restoring Prana del Mar to its former beauty and once again opening our doors and hearts to all of the kind, gracious, compassionate guests who are the lifeblood of our retreat center. The sun is already shining in Baja and we look forward to welcoming you back to enjoy it sometime soon!
With warmth and love,
Erik & the Prana del Mar staff