Let me introduce myself…
My name is Ron “Gomez” Hoff and I have lived and worked in Latin America for most of my adult life and for nearly the last 20 years here in Mexico, where I would meet the love of my life – Cristina.
We would marry and eventually move from the Rosarito Beach area down to a very small and remote fishing community outside of San Quintin called La Chorera, fronting San Martin Island.
Here we would build our forever home where we live completely off-grid and where I first started Talk Baja back in 2010, beginning as a small, stand alone discussion group / forum for a small collection of like-minded friends to share stories, pictures and experiences of a common love we all share together, which is the mystical and amazing Baja, Mexico!
Our tight little group began to attract new members and eventually I would decide to move the group to Facebook in 2014. The timing was fortunate and we would end up providing a key link of communication in September of that year as the massive Hurricane Odile hit the southern Baja tip.
That category 3 hurricane was massive and brutal; tearing a wide path of destruction across much of the southern regions of the peninsula, knocking down power lines, blowing off roofs, knocking down homes and leaving an almost complete lack of infrastructure in its wake.
As the hurricane moved onshore, power and phone service were knocked out leaving only social media access via some limited cell service that remained on in parts around Cabo San Lucas and the southern tip.
The night Odile hit, Talk Baja would convert into one of the primary sources of communication between those on the ground enduring the storm’s wrath and their friends, family and the press.
Many of us witnessed and even participated in some very emotional and difficult conversations with other members trapped in their homes and hotels, who used their cell phones to share with us – moment by moment – as the howling winds approached, glass was ripped out from their windows and flooding water came pouring in, asking us to send messages to their families and friends up north of the border where possible.
In the days that followed, the local state and federal authorities as well as the US Consulate would also come onboard, using our group to help gauge the level of response needed to provide to a region hit by a storm that left hundreds of thousands of people without access to fresh water, food stocks, gasoline or much other infrastructure.
The growing problems on the ground left in Odile’s wake were exacerbated by the lack of power and standard means of communication. As the situation threatened to spin out of control, many of our members stepped up and took on roles as volunteers to help relay messages, coordinate logistics support where possible and helping to provide an overall voice of calm to those living through such chaos.
Our members also helped facilitate communications with thousands of tourists left stranded in Los Cabos, Todos Santos, La Paz, Loreto and Mulege and both the Mexican and US governments would use our group to provide messaging and critical response to cases where needed, ultimately providing a massive air evacuation of stranded tourists just days later.
During all of this, our group quickly grew from a few hundred to nearly 5,000 members, in just a matter of days. And we have never stopped growing since.
Today, our Facebook group represents the largest online discussion group forum for the Baja California Peninsula with over 48K members; we should top 50 thousand by this summer.
Our large and culturally diverse group of members includes a broad mix of Mexicans, Americans / Gringo’s, Canadians and more – some retired, some here visiting as tourists and still others here working full time.
We share our collective wealth of experience with all and provide local news, weather updates, hurricane forecasts, highway and road conditions, fishing / surf reports, off-road racing / SCORE coverage and more including local events. travel information, advice on retirement living as a Baja expat and much, much more.
We are honored and humbled by the continued growth of this amazing online community that is Talk Baja today and we hope that you would consider joining us as well…
Ron & Cristina