*********** Costa Maya-Mahahual Newsletter-Sept 2012 **********
Costa Maya Newsletter: of
interest to visitors and property owners and anyone looking to learn more about the Costa Maya, Mahahual /
Majahual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and
other points along Quintana Roo's Southern Coast
To those who have emailed me wondering if I am still sending out a newsletter, I can only say. . . "Stuff happens" and not what I anticipated. Last time I mentioned I was going on a vacation and I had some managers to help me out. Well, today, it is back to Kim and I. . . because Murphy's law is alive and well. I think my life is a lot like the pueblo of Mahahual - good STUFF had been happening and then Ernesto came along. . .to keep us humble or to remind us that if something CAN happen it will.
First there were several fishing tournaments early in the summer, and everyone was looking forward to the Summer High season where Mexicans flow to the beach to get away from the heat in the center of the country. But on Aug. 8th, Category 1 Hurricane Ernesto touched down and primarily was a big inconvenience. During Ernesto I was in the United States attending my nieces wedding causing me great anxiety because I couldn't find any real news in the absence of Internet and Phone coverage. Even though most of the damage was to federal zone palapas on the beach, completely irresponsible reporting by the local newspapers showed pictures of a home still standing but that had been destroyed by Hurricane Dean. It a miserable trip and reminded me of why I vowed never to leave the Costa Maya during Hurricane Season. You can read more about Ernesto and view pictures in the body of the web site version of the newsletter.
Surprisingly, they didn't cancel Jats'a Ja, but attendance was a bit low -(more in the body of the newsletter). That event was followed by a nice, but low attended Independence day celebration on September 16th and an equally slow September with only 4 cruise ships for the month. While the short term tourist traffic has clearly been affected by the cyclone - the newspaper is reporting that there are 20 fewer cruise scheduled this year for the Costa Maya Pier. What does all this mean for the future of Mahahual? Not much, apparently. While Senior Frogs and Hard Rock Cafe close, advance hotel rentals seem to be on par with other years and homes are renting a bit better than last year. Everyone is reporting that Christmas is about full. We do have a few openings if you get a last minute urge to come to Mahahual.
In the mean time, the Mahahual businesses have vowed to focus on Non-Cruise ship business (DUH!). In the background, charity work continues and good things are flowing into Mahahual. More Hotels are being built and people are buying Casitas with the idea of retiring a short walk from the beach. This is exactly what Mahahual needs - something to support the town's restaurants and businesses on non-cruise ship days. However, Mahahual continues to close down at night. Last Friday night Kim and I went out with some friends and only found No-och' Kay open (thank you Heimi).
If you find yourself in Town on the 25th of November - make sure an plan on stopping by the Charity event at Fernando's 100% Agave. This Fundraiser has been traditionally held at Marilyn Marshals, but this year a more central location has been selected to get everyone involved. I hope to see you there!.
Your Costa Maya Neighbor,
Marcia Bales. . .writing this from Placer and Mayan Beach Garden Inn - 20 km north of Mahahual.
Dec. 22 - End of the world Party! Better be in the Costa Maya for that one!
Party/Silent Auction Fundraiser for Kids of Mahahual - Everyone invited Sunday,
Nov. 25th 2012 4:00 PM at Fernando's 100% Agave
The past few years, Marilyn Marshall has been in charge of raising money for the children of Mahahual. The primary method of raising money has been the Silent Auction Fundraiser. This year, the fundraising has been turned over to Natalie Dale and Shannon Angel. The following message is from the Facebook Event.
". . .This is a super fun night to raise the money for the kids of Mahahual. . . the money raised goes to school uniforms, school supplies, Christmas party, marathon, and any special projects like the computer lab we put in the secondary school, etc. We are also looking at playground equipment for
the use of the towns kids... Actually if we can raise enough.....we are hoping to build a zocalo (town square) with park area and bleachers for the soccer field! So if you will be in Mahahual, plan to come! Feel free to invite others so please check your friends that may be in town at the time and invite away ."
Combi (Van) and Bus schedule Chetumal - Mahahual and Mahahual-Chetumal
Leaving Mahahual for Chetumal
Hours / Van number
06:00 am / 150
07:00 am / 151
08:00 am / 153
09:00 am / 167
11:00 am / 89
Mahahual has it's own public Webcam that is placed on top of Hotel Quinto Sole next to Tequila Beach. Note the two views below - the first is BEFORE Ernesto and the 2nd is the way it is today and after Hurricane Ernesto. You can see a few palapas are missing.
Notice the change
Hurricane Ernesto Report
August 8th came as a bit of surprise to Mahahual. All the reports said that category 1 Ernesto was going to be light, with seas of only 1-2 feet high. In reality, the seas were 1-2 meters high, meaning parts of Mahahual, which are only about 5 feet high were basically underwater. The good news was that Ernesto didn't really have a lot of power in the wind and most of the damage was in the federal zone. What that meant, was that most people lost their palapas on the beach, smaller trees, and received a lot of garbage from the sea on their lots. Cleanup took a few days, but as you can see above, it didn't take long for people to be in business and no cruise ships were cancelled. The biggest inconvenience was lack of power and phone coverage. No phones at all were working for a couple of days and it took TelCel over two weeks to put in a temporary tower after the wind blew it down.
If you had property, you probably lost a few small trees in the federal zone (those ones you lovingly planted after Dean). Most businesses had damages to their palapas. They seemed to be undermined by the surf and then knocked over by the wind. All of the palapas at Mayan Beach Garden have had to be rebuilt, but other than that, we didn't incur any damages - all of our trees were able to be propped back up and we were back in business in two days. (Below, the Malecon with toppled Palapas the next morning)
Below, you can see the path that Hurricane Ernesto took across the peninsula. According to the NHC, it came ashore at 18.7 N and 87.7 W - or about 2 km South of the fisherman's pier with Maximum sustained winds of 85 km an hour.
The following YouTube video taken by a Belizean news station was taken the afternoon following the storm.
The Celebration of Jats'a Ja 2012 was held on August 16th - 19th starting with the opening ceremonies on Thursday night at 7:00. Unfortunately the event was mostly a local one (shades of the first Jats'a Ja in 2008, but still it was fun). Ernesto a week before caused all of the participants to believe it would be canceled. Becuase of the lack of internet and phone, we all found out in the Diario del Quintant Roo that it was still on. At the last minute it was decided to continue because of the vendors and dancers that the county had already paid. The good side? Everyone who attended felt included and special and everyone who participated in the events won prizes. I've included a YouTube video of the event and a few photos.
Sand Sculpture Event
Mostly entered by Children, the event was fun if nothing more to watch the families enjoying their children. Blue Bay hosted the event.
The Super Sprint competition this year was a modified Team Triathlon including swimming, bicycling and running.
This is your's truly with Daniel Rosas in front of some Exhibition photos.
Consurso de fotographia (Photography Contest)
This year's photography contest topped all other years in quality, if not quantity. See next section for winning photos. The prize this year was a GoPro HD2 Professional Surf addition camera. Photography Contest Results
Once again, the 5th annual Jats'a Ja included a tasting fair. For 50 pesos, you could enter, get a beer and taste food from 28 different restaurants. Mayan Beach Garden served up Key lime cake and Coco-Lime Lion fish, but some of the restaurants went all out (see below).
Somewhere along the way, Mexican Chefs learn how to make truly amazing looking dishes. It was hard to say which one was more visually exciting, but In this case, the food served up is shaped as a pirate ship made of Platano Macho and little boats of shrimp. Unfortunately several restaurants were unable to attend because they were still making repairs as a result of Ernesto. Notably missing, was Poppi's Pizza and Paraiso, who's tar paper roofs meant that they had to replace them before they could reopen.
As part of the closing ceremony, Dancers from Merida arrived to dance traditional Mayan dances. This one is the dance with beer bottles on their heads and dancing on and around a box. Historical Mayan ceremonial dancers followed.
Jats'a Ja Photography Contest winners
Jats'a Ja's photography contest this year was exceptional. The quality of the entries was by far better than in years past. Unfortunately Ernesto's destruction of the cell tower made it difficult to communicate so entrants were low. The Contest was juried by Gerardo Guiterez.
Grand prize went to Becky Loto for her black and white photo o a child dressed in a Black Plastic bag, watching and waiting for Ernesto.
Category: Our Colors (Nuestros Colores)
1st Prize Jorge Pavon for his photo of a Passion fruit flower
2nd Prize Robert Crowe for his photo of a Mahahual sunrise
3rd Prize Liliana Chi for her sunrise photo
Category:Our Inhabitants (Nuestros Habitantes)
1st Prize: Orilie Favre for her picture of worms poking their heads out of the Brain coral house.
2nd Prize: Susan Ackoff for the two girls in their communion dresses
3rd Prize: Kristine DiPasquo for her picture of her fiance looking up at a Mayan Ruin
Category: Our Creations (Nuestros Creaciones)
1st Prize Deb Bicher for her picture of a Post Dean Ruin, still standing 5 years later
2nd Prize Sol Mancera for her photo of Rio Huatch
3rd Prize Lizbeth Tuz for her photo of Children dressed as Birds
Mahahual continues to have LIonfish tournaments. Why? Because they are fun, effective and sponsored by Othon P Blanco. In this case, it is free to enter, and there are prizes. The winning team from Dr. Dive killed over two hundred fish in a period of 5 hours. One of our guests was on that team and she said that at one point, Alberto shot 50 fish in 30 minutes, that is more than a kill a minute.
Disposing of Batteries (where to take them in Mahahual?)
Recycling of any kind in Mexico takes a conscious effort, but if you are like me, you are probably wracked with guilt when you throw a AA or AAA battery out because you just don't know what else to do with them. You can take them to the office of CAPA in the Casitas at Chacchoben street Block 5, Lot 13. There is usually a CAPA truck or vehicle there. The is, by the way, is where you pay your water bill if you own a property that receives city water.
What about large batteries like car or Solar Batteries. If you buy your replacement battery at UNIVERSAL, on Obregon, in Chetumal they will buy back your old battery at a fair price so you can be assured it will be recycled.
Mahahual Primary school graduation ceremony
July 15th Marked the festival for the the end of the school year. Thanks to Fernando for posting this lovely picture on Facebook.
Mayan Beach Garden - New at MBG
Banco Chinchorro Sport Adventure
IF you ever wanted to Fish Chinchorro, this is an amazing opportunity. You can now book this once of a life-time tour through Mayan Beach Garden Vacations.
"All Inclusive" two day - one night package Banco Chinchorro Sport Adventure". The tour includes all transportation, meals, beverages, accommodations, and activities. Your time is divided into four half day segments of your choice that offer a range of options and flexibility. Fishing for Barracuda, Mahi Mahi, Bonefish and other species is included. You will be trolling for game fish on the way out, fly or spin casting on the flats, and game fishing off shore in good weather. The trip also includes options to snorkel an off shore wreck or dive a deeper location with all equipment provided. Simply bring your clothes, sun screen, and a sense of adventure. More info. . .
Lodging facilities at Banco Chinchorro
Mayan Beach Garden does a little remodeling
We have a wonderful guest who returns every year. We've watched her struggle to get up the two stairs leading up to our beach level cabanas, so now we've added a ramp to our suite so that she and others with bad knees and hips can easily enter the room. We've also added a bench in the shower and a safety bar.
I've also hated our dining room bathroom for years, so we've finally remodeled that room too, adding a fountain-like sink. I think you'll notice other little changes too if you've visited us before. We hope you like our additions!
Homes available through Mayan Beach Garden Vacation Rentals
. If it turns out to be true that 2012 will be a banner year - please make sure you get homes reserved early. Spring is already starting to fill in the housing rental market in the Costa Maya. Click on any home for more information.
Those of you who may have wanted to learn how to spear fish with an expert - the time is now here. Mayan Beach Garden is partnering with Mike at Costa Maya Spear-fishing. Those who would like a Spear fishing experience and stay at MBG can now get a package deal with fishing and lodging combined.
Spear Fishing is the ultimate in sport fishing. The use of tanks for Spear fishing is illegal in Mexico, but free diving and snorkeling is completely legal. Mike has all the permits needed to take you either from shore or boat snorkel. With a few tips, you'll find you can stay down longer and even maybe spear some fish.
Spear fishing is highly selective, uses no bait and has no by-catch meaning no turtles, Dolphins, Manatee, or other protected species are hurt . With education and proper regulations, spear fishing can be the most ecologically sustainable form of fishing.
Nature on the costa maya - floating trash and the color blue
So, Friday morning I looked closely at the trash along the kilometer of beach between Mayan Beach Garden and what I call the Northern Point. Relatively few items bore labels revealing their country of origin, but enough did to provide a general feeling from where the trash comes from. That's a collage of snippets indicating the labels' countries of origin above.
The home countries of 33 items could be identified, and garbage from 15 countries was found. The nation providing most garbage was Colombia, with 9 pieces, or 27%.
The next most represented country was Mexico itself, with 5 pieces, or 15%, and then Venezuela with four pieces, or 12%. Countries contributing 2 pieces, or 6%, were Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname and Honduras. The remaining countries sending only a single piece of trash each were St. Lucia, Haiti, Guatemala, Netherlands, Singapore, China, USA and Russia. I'm guessing that items from the last four countries were dumped from passing ships. Probably the item from the Netherlands entered waters of Dutch-speaking Suriname.
Clearly a one-way trash superhighway operates between here and northern South America. If you consider the island nation of Trinidad & Tobago as part of South America, then 17 pieces, or 52%, originated in South America. A map showing the Caribbean's main currents flowing from northern South America to here is at http://oceancurrents.rsmas.miami.edu/caribbean/caribbean.html.
That map also shows why I've never found trash from Cuba (stiff north-flowing current between Cuba and the Yucatán) and why there's never much from Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua (their Caribbean trash travels in circles).
Why is the color blue so dominant on these labels? It's because most were from plastic water bottles, and marketers know that people associate the color blue with cleanliness and purity.
Behold the irony of it.
By the way, Curtis Ebbesmeyer's "Beachcombers' Alert," with stories about interesting flotsam, and an address where you can share your own flotsam stories, is at http://beachcombersalert.org/.
news around Mexico, Quintana Roo and the yucatan peninsula
Cancun gets a Mayan Museum
After a full year of construction, Cancun gets a Mayan Museum. Prior to this, the only museum in Cancun was the small museum at the Ruin of El Ray. The three story, 9000 square meter museum will contain one floor dedicated to Quintana roo, another to Mayan Archeology and the other to traveling shows. The Opening show will be tentatively "Masks of Divinity" which is a traveling show from the Museum of Anthropology and History of Mexico City. INAH has not announced the opening date, however.
Bridge from Chetumal to the Costa Maya
(Announced July 15th)
The Regional Development Trust South East (FIDESUR) announced that a budget of 5 million pesos has been approved for the final design of the 32 kilometer bridge that would connect Chetumal to the Costa Maya Chetumal. The head of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Andrés Ruiz Morcillo, said the money is a fund to develop studies and projects and not to execute the work but it is a prerequisite to raise funds. If the project is found to be feasible, FIDESUR plans to invest 2 billion pesos for the construction of such infrastructure which would start in 2013.
The bridge would include 22 kilometers over water, and 10 kilometers along the coast. The depth of the water it will span is one to six meters deep. The bridge will connect Majahual, Chetumal and Xcalak. While I couldn't find a map, according to one report, the bridge would be located between the towns of Luis Echeverría (north of Calderitas) and Calderitas and come up Chaguaxol, located between Xcalak and Mahahual. The project is being funded by the Ministry of Communications and Transport .
Chetumal Announces additional development coming
Since Chetumal is 2 hours away, the more services there are when you get there, the better. It was announced by Economic Development Secretary, Javier Díaz Carvaja that there will be a Starbucks "in the square" but I don't know where that would be. Additionally he said there would be a Sanbourns, in the area of the ADO station. These are coming in 2013. If you have been to the Sorianas, you might have noticed a fairly large building going up. I was hoping it was the Home Depot, but instead, it is a 10 theater Cineplex.
NEWS FROM XCALAK
All of Xcalak has been saddened by the death of Ron Carlisle, who had an unfortunate accident in his truck on the Xcalak highway. The death occurred only a week ago and Polly is helping the family.
She is, however busy getting the kids Christmas party ready for Xcalak. She may need some help. If you are interested, email me and I'll forward on your message.
If you have something you want included in the classifieds, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Limit text to 100 words and pictures no larger than 600 pixels wide, but preferably 432, so that text can go side by side the photos. Include a contact email or phone number. It is a good idea to use an email address that is not your primary address to limit Junk mail coming your way. There is no charge, this is a community service for sale by owners.
New this month is a Chevy Pickup.