Costa Maya Newsletters: of
primary interest to property owners and those interested in Mahahual /
Majahual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and
other points along Quintana Roo South
Maya Neighbors-Tropical Storm Alex coverage.
Happy 4th of July to all of you where every you are! Since many of you have emailed me curious about the damage from tropical storm Alex, I thought I'd give a rundown. I was in Chetumal about 2:00 PM Saturday.when the rain began. The storm center went into Belize with Chetumal and Costa Maya receiving the north side of the storm. All of my guests went to Playa del Carmen for hopefully better weather (from everything I heard - they had rain for a longer period than we did).
Once back here at the beach, it was pretty calm with some rough seas.The police volunteered evacuation for those who wanted to leave the beaches. I don' t know if any of the fishermen living in the tar paper roofed houses took them up on it, but I wouldn't have liked to have lived through the windy rainy night in one of those shacks. Even with Concrete roofs, palapa window coverings and door sweeps at the bottom of our doors, every cabana and our restaurant took in water from the driving rain. When the water comes in sideways - it finds a way in! So all night long I stayed awake listening to the wind which sounded worse than it really was, less fierce than the dry hot wind we had in early May, but there was a lot of rain to it. Still the trees were whipping around all night.
Next morning, there was a lot of plastic mixed with the sea grass on the beach. We quickly cleaned it up. There were some surges that washed up over the Rio Indio - Pulticub beach road, but only a little erosion. All in all - everything is about the same.
While cleaning up the trash, we heard chirping noises. Under one of the palm fronds, three baby birds were tucked inside a little nest. You can see in the picture, how the parent stitched the nest to the coco palm. Can you imagine this whipping around all night long, yet leaving the three babies safely inside tucked away. Mother nature is truly amazing! I've not sure the bird species - one of the little bright yellow and black winged birds, but I've only had one view of the parent who zipped out so quickly I couldn't get a good look at it. Maybe one of the birders reading this can identify it from the nest.
Your Costa Maya Neighbor - Marcia Bales, writing this from Placer - 20 km north of Mahahual.
Message board - When are you coming to the Costa maya?
If you planning on coming to Mahahual, please post on the "Just Chatting" section of the forum. It would be great to have some neighborhood parties this slow season. Also, if anyone is contemplating a visit - make sure and plan it around Jats' a ja' - August 13, 14 and 15th. It gets better every year.
2nd Silver Dorado Fishing Tournament at Tequila Beach
A huge 306 pound Marlin won the most points - but the prize truck went to only a 36 pound Dorado (Mahi Mahi). After all, it was the Silver Dorado tournament. The president of Othon P. Blanco, Andrés Ruiz Morcillo, captured a Blue Marlin 306 lbs, in the deep waters East of Placer.
The fish was so large, they had difficulty weighing it.
Andres Ruiz Morcillo said after his arrival in the weighing area that the capture of the fish shows that Mahahual is a great destination for fishing sports.
The presence of the Governor, Félix Arturo González Canto who came to make the opening shot in the morning to wish the participants good fishing, brought them luck for this event.
Caught about 3:30 in the afternoon it took an hour and a half to land the fish, and they struggled to get it onto the boat, "so I have my arms like Popeye, swollen, " said Andreas.
Costa Maya and Mahahual Road Report
Its been a while since I've reported on the roads - partly because so much work was in process, but here's the list.
Tulum to Cafetal junction and turn-off to Mahahual - is about done and beautiful.
Makes driving the distance pleasurable. Only some stripping still remaining.
Improved beach road from Rio Indio to Pulticub - about completed. The improvement included several inches of Sascab, culverts in some areas and widening. You won't believe it if you are used to traveling the beach road north of Uvero.
South of Mahahual they have regraded the road and filled up the worst of the potholes so driving isn't such a chore.
The second Mahahual street back, which has been such a challenge to drive has now been blacktopped. Sidewalks are currently going in. There will be less parking in that area as a result.
From Cafetal to Chetumal, there is road repair going on. Please watch for these areas. They have narrowed the road down to one lane, but allow two way traffic.
Some of the side streets in the casitas are getting paved. I'm not sure of the extent of these improvements as they are currently working on the project, but the worst street - Kohunlich where Mini Super Bere's is located is completed.
Over passes in Playa del Carmen can still cause some slow downs. Any time gained anywhere else is lost in Playa. Looking forward to the over passes, however.
Over passes have been completed at Puerto Morelos and Akumal cutting down on Topes and lights.
Reduced bus schedule on ADO
The ADO bus schedule for the time being is departing at 7:30 AM, 5:30 PM (direct to Cancun) and 6:30
PM. The Caribe bus has been pretty consistent with a departure at 6:30 AM and 3:00 PM to Chetumal. All busses stop in Limones where you can pick up a Mayab or ADO bus. The price of a non-stop ADO bus is now 94 pesos to Chetumal. There is also the small Caribe bus, but I haven't figured out the schedule nor has my staff!
Yesterday that bus left mahahual about 4:45 in the afternoon.
Photo and Art contest (part of Jat'sa-ja')
Aug 13, 14, 15
The last two years the festival of Jat'sa-ja' has featured a photo contest of Mahahual and the Costa Maya. This year, the contest will be expanded to include other artwork as well. This year's theme is Costa Maya Green with three categories- Air, Land and Sea. If you have created any original artwork or have taken some amazing photos of the Costa Maya and the southern part of Quintana Roo, here is your opportunity to show case it. Subject matter can be anything about the Costa Maya, and attractions in the area including Mayan Ruins. Jats'a-Ja' will occur the 2nd weekend in August. Prizes TBA, but the best 12 photos will be featured in a Calendar whose proceeds will go towards the next Jats'a-ja'. Send inquiries to email@example.com and I can send you more info.
Another huge cruise ship announces itineraries to Mahahual
Norwegian Cruise Line today accepted delivery of its largest ship to date, Norwegian Epic, from STX FRANCE SA. Norwegian Epic at 153,000 gross tons is the largest ship ever constructed in St. Nazaire and therefore represents a major milestone. “Norwegian Epic represents the next level of Freestyle Cruising with branded entertainment, more than 20 dining options and a wide range of accommodations including the largest suite complex at sea,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s Chief Executive Officer. “Following more than four years of development and construction, we are pleased to take ownership of this beautiful ship and introduce her to the world. We are confident that Norwegian Epic will amaze our guests.”
The ship will make its first arrival to the Puerto Costa Maya in late July. This summer there are ships every week - with every Thursday and every other Wednesday currently booked solid. Other days are booked more randomly - but it looks like the people of Mahahual have work once again. They deserve it.
Ordering Propane on-line in Spanish
If you are using Propane and the gas truck doesn't come like you would like, OR when you call them they say they are coming and then don't, you might want to try ordering gas on line. It is pretty strait forward, even though it is in Spanish. Here is a link to the page on Z-Gas that you can order yourself. While it is in Spanish, it is pretty easy to figure out. .Only worry about the items that are starred. I've translated the items you need to fill in. These are good terms to know anyway, as they come up all the time.
PAIS = Country
ESTADO = State
CIUDAD = City ( choose Chetumal, because the delivery of gas comes from here.)
NOMBRE = Name
CALLE = Street (I think that most of us are on the Camino Costera, either Mahahual - Punta Herrera or Mahahual -Xcalak
COLONIA = Neighborhood - Mayan Beach Garden is in Placer. Other neighborhoods would be Rio Indio or Punta Herredura
NO. = number, but I put the kilometer number there for lack of a better option
TELEFONO = telephone.
LADA = Area code
REQUIRE SERVICEO PARA = Requiring service for: choose residential
INDICACIONES ESPECIALES: = let them know the name of your house if it has a name or if it close to something like Mayan Beach GArden, or anything that will help them find your house. Write in English - someone will be savvy enough to figure it out.
Candidate for Governor Arrested just weeks before election
On July 4, 14 Mexican states will elect Governors in Mexico including the state of Quintana roo. If you have been down here during the last month you will have seen signs everywhere of Borge for Governor - a smiling chubby Borge with the thumbs up sign. Up until a month ago you also saw signs for Greg Sanchez, only all of his signs showed a thoughtful Sanchez with both hands tucked under his chin. However, Sanchez was arrested by the federal government for drug trafficking a few weeks ago. Sanchez had been the Mayor of Benito Juarez, the Municipio that includes Cancun - a very powerful and popular position. Sanchez is charged with drug, money laundering and organized crime offences and subsequently being jailed in Nayarit state - on the pacific side of Mexico. Sanchez was a member of the the PRD and Borge is a member of the PAN party which has traditionally held the governorship in this state. The other party in Mexico is the PRI party.
10 members of Borge election staff killed in airplane crash
Days after Greg Sanchez was arrested, a plane full of campaign workers for Borge crashed just outside of Felipe Carrillo Puerto. Borge was supposed to be on that plane and made last minute changes. Foul play has been ruled out, but you can imagine the shock in the state of Quintana Roo.
Peso to dollar exchange - additional information from last month
Finally we are seeing some information on the internet about the Dollar to Peso exchange problem - some may even affect you as the government plans on putting a stop to the purchasing of land with cash.
Stores that will take dollars:
Baroudis - decent exchange rate at 12x1 when the bank rate is 12.5x1
Sam's club - not good exchange rates but will take dollars. I received 12.13 when the exchange was 12.64 that day.
Costco - bank rate - the had the best rate I've seen
Chedraui's - pretty good - only a couple points below bank rate
Sorianas (in Playa or Cancun) - received a great exchange rate of 12.89 for the items purchased PLUS got change back from a $100 bill. The Casa de Cambio out in the center of the mall was giving 11.5.
Anyone know of any others?
Secretary of Finance Ernesto Cordero and banking commission chairman Guillermo Babatz announced restrictions on deposits of cash dollars to curb money laundering from drug trafficking. “The Mexican banking system is receiving a large quantity of cash dollars, far beyond what could be explained by economic activity. There exists the presumption … that many of these dollars have an illicit origin,” Cordero said. Individuals will be limited to making dollar cash deposits of US$4,000 per month (if they have a bank account) or US$1,500 per month (if not). Companies that operate in tourist regions and the border region will be limited to US$7,000 per month in cash deposits. The regulations will also “reinforce measures against money laundering, including the knowledge, identification, and monitoring of [bank] customers, non-customer users of the banks, and their exchange transactions.” The new regulations do not affect dollar sales by financial institutions, or non-cash transactions; they go into effect on June 21 for individuals and in 90 days for companies. http://mexicopolitics.wordpress.com/tag/ernesto-cordero/
At this point in time, it seems you can't seem to open a new dollar account even if you have a pesos account. We are waiting to find out what happens in 90 days and in the mean time hope to be able to open a personal dollar account soon.
Travel news and Tips
British Airways has announced that it is to start flights to Cancun, Mexico’s most important tourist destination with two direct flights a week from London Gatwick from November 2010.
Flights to Cancun, Mexico, will depart every Wednesday and Saturday in London Gatwick at 12.45pm, arriving at 5.45pm local time and will return the same day at 7.15pm, arriving at 10.15am the following day.
A Boeing 777 will serve the route, offering a choice of three cabins, including BA’s Club World business class with fully flat beds.
Richard Tams, head of UK & Ireland sales and marketing, said: “We’re delighted to be the only UK scheduled airline offering direct flights to Cancun.
Emergency Cell Number (Federal number Mexico wide)
Many of you have international plans, so I am not positive if this will work, but if you have Mexican cell phones, the number to call in case of an emergency is 088.
CELL - EMERGENCY #088. answered by the federal police). This is for reporting accidents, injuries, asking for emergency roadside, federal offenses such as drug trafficking, kidnapping, smuggling, assault on roads, etc. from your cell phone.
Capturing Lionfish with the "ELF"
A Lionfish Safari will part of Jats'a-ja' this August 13, 14 and 15th, as well as workshops on cleaning, preparing Lionfish to eat and a contest for who can prepare the best Lionfish by the restaurants on the Costa Maya.
The following Article is courtesy of Tal Bixby from Reef Protection Inc. who will be running Lionfish Expeditions here on the Costa Maya in the near future. Tal sells the ELF, a tool designed to kill Lionfish. He will be making the tool available on the Costa Maya in the next month or so at a price less than half of what is shown on his web site.
"I started seeing Lion Fish in the Caribbean about 1 year ago, my heart sank when I started doing research & found out just what a devastation this invasive species was creating. Having a background in machining, product development, and a little but of engineering, I knew I could come up with something. Hence the birth of the ELF tool (Eliminate Lion Fish.)I began taking the ELF tool to the various reefs I loved to dive, realizing that if I did not,,,, the Reefs may disappear as we know them.
Watching the numbers of reef fish drop while the Number of Lion Fish increase at an alarming rate was more than I could stomach. We started collecting Lion Fish averaging over 10 fish per dive every dive. In a matter of a couple months the Lion Fish population began visibly dropping in the areas where divers were using them. However, while the numbers of lion Fish where they were actively being hunted were dropping, the numbers were increasing by the day in other areas. I visit some other areas. What a surprise to find more Lion Fish than anything else at these new locations, especially at the 60 ft level. On My first dive, I think we collected 19, the next tank 8, the next 12, the next 9 and it continued. I went back to my home in Iowa, only to be contacted again notifying me of the severity of the problem elsewhere. Not being able to sleep thinking about the problem, I took what little $$ I had left, packed up my family and headed back to the reef.
I have been collecting more Lion Fish than I have bottom time. My computer says its time to surface, while my eyes tell me I could be collecting more. If we band together, we can beat this. Tal Bixby Reef Protection Inc"
The video demonstrates the use of the tool, as well as being a good primer on where to find Lion Fish.
plant of the month - Opuntia Spinosisima (Prickly Pear Cactus)
Most of you know Prickly Pear Cactus as a species, especially if you live in a desert area. Prickly Pear will grow here, but not flourish in pure sand. We have it planted successfully in a mix of about 30 percent dirt, 15% compost and the remainder sand and we harvest enough for the restaurant. It doesn't seem to get bugs, but we can't seem to grow the fruit or Tuna. I believe that something may be eating the fruit before it forms, because we do get flowers occasionally.
It stands up to salt laden winds, however. There must be something lacking in the soil here, because when planted in sand, it just sits there and you won't be able to harvest any of the paddles to eat. We serve cactus Paddles here all the time - they are called Nopal in spanish and it is a common vegetable in the area. In fact, if you ask a local what vegetables they like to eat, they will list chaya, nopales, carrots, onions, calabasas and tomatoes as their favorites.
Prickly pear is easy to propogate, simply break off a couple of paddles and put them in the sandy dirt.
According to the University of Florida extension service, this plant is drought, salt and heat tolerant. It requires a sunny, well-drained site and is tolerant of sandy, alkaline soils. Prickly pear will only tolerate wet conditions for a very short period of time. We never water ours.
HARVESTING and PREPARATION
It is always a good idea to use gloves if you plan on harvesting the paddles to eat. The new paddles don't have fine spines, but it is always a good precautions. Break them off when they are small and thin- about the size of your hand (I have fairly large hands). Smaller is OK, but when they start to get thick or get paddles of their own - they can be tough. The ones in the picture are perfect. With a sharp knife, cut off the spines.
After that you can prepare them any way you want. They can be grilled on a hot grill, then cut into strips and served like a vegetable. All my cooks cut them into rectangles and boil them until tender, serving them with onions and fresh tomatoes - that is until I train them differently, since I personally don't like them boiled. Here is how we serve Nopales at MBG:
NOPALES SALAD PREPARATION
1) Clean and slice paddles into thin slices so they resemble green beans
2) In a pre-heated, dry non-stick pan, cook the Nopal until they start to get tender.
Add sliced onions and cook until the onions start to get tender as well.
Coat the mixture with a tablespoon of bacon grease or olive oil.
Toss in some fresh tomatoes that are cut in thin wedges and salt and pepper to taste
crumble a little bacon on the top.
7) Serve hot or cold
These are great as leftovers mixed with scrambled eggs. You can also eat Nopales raw, sliced and placed in salads. It has a tart slightly lemony taste.
Nitrogen fertilizer - using urine
One of the most common items missing from soil here on the Costa Maya is Nitrogen. So many plants, including palms turn yellow. Because we are all trying to garden naturally, I look for opportunities to add something that is not chemical based. Thanks to an article in Jim Conrad's Backyard Nature newsletter, I found that I could add urine to help fix that problem. I was skeptical, but after doing some research, I found that this is a very good, yet uncommon thing to do. Furthermore, collecting urine also saves about 3 gallons every flush, is natural and plants love nitrogen. I've been doing that "if it's yellow let it mellow" thing for a while, but I hate it. I would much rather collect the urine and have it do some good. The consensus on many web sites is that pure Urine is a little too strong - mainly due to the salt in the urine. A mixture of 1x8 seems to be Ideal, although peeing directly on your grass seems to be OK. The key is not to use too much. If you have ever over applied nitrogen fertilizer to your lawn and had it burn, you will know what happens if you add urine in too strong of a dose. I've already started adding to my compost - it is supposed to kick start a compost pile that isn't doing much - that would be mine! In 2007, there was a test of urine as fertilizer for food crops reported in Oct. 31 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. In the test, cabbages fertilized with urine were a little larger than those fertilized with chemical fertilizers. The nutritional value was the same. Avoid the obvious error of putting urine directly on the leaves.
I know all of you have read about squatters and the problems of squatting in Mexico. Your realtors may even have advised you to fence your lot and put up no trespassing signs, hire someone to keep an eye on it or any number of methods to secure your long distance property. The following story about squatting in Kirkland, Washington USA was sent to me by Sara Thomson, a new property owner on the Costa Maya. It will make you realize that Squatting is not just in Mexico, but anywhere there are absentee owners. Read the entire story at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/dannywestneat/2012101648_danny13.html
The house in Kirkland Washing was an 8,000-square-foot mansion that was dark and in foreclosure for years. Recently the for-sale signs came down and the lights lit up, some new signs went up. "No trespassing," the signs say. "Privately owned property. Not for sale." (Sound familiar?)
When asked, the realtor said that the house was still for sale. Whoever is living there had broken in and were squatters. Kirkland police say it's true — someone just showed up and changed the locks. They now claim they own the place. Police don't believe that, but also don't tend to get involved in landownership disputes and so haven't done anything, yet, to remove them. (Sounds like the police here!)
The builder defaulted on the home in 2008 and the mansion went into foreclosure. It ended up in the hands of Venture Bank which failed — too many defaulted loans — and was seized by the feds. So the house went to another bank, called First Citizens, which, according to legal documents on file at the County, now owns it. Or they think they own it.
A form posted on the door of the house by its new "tenants" says "all rights, interest and title in said property" has been transferred to something called the "Priority Rose Children's Outreach," a charity whose purpose is listed as "spiritual training for adults and children in a religious safe environment for the development of all mankind." But the phone number for the charity is also the number for a local company called NW Note Elimination that specializes in "eliminating mortgages." It does this by finding flaws with loans or titles and exploiting them to stake outright claims to property. One of its strategies, according to a primer it posted on Craigslist, is to create a land trust and claim title to a piece of property, then try to challenge the existing mortgages as flawed in hopes the banks eventually will just go away.
The actual owner, First Citizens Bank, is now trying to get them evicted — a civil-court process that can take months. Real-estate experts say this is not that uncommon any more. Squatting usually happens in foreclosed or completely abandoned homes.
Costa Maya Villas Condo Hotel
Free nights stay if you schedule a visit to the show room. Just to remind you, Todd Story, owner of Mayan Paradise Properties is offering a free night's stay in a luxury Costa Maya Villa condo to anyone who schedules a visit to view the condos. There are still 5 condos remaining at a great pre-market price. Prices go up in mid July when the show room is ready. You can schedule a viewing with firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find the condos by turning left at the light house - driving north on the road that parallels the beach. You can't miss them, they are the only beachfront project near the port. Financing is available at as low as 6% with good credit. On the left is the pool's beginnings and on the right, the project nearing formation and ready for finishes.
Two weeks ago, after the storm and when the mosquitoes came out and were humming bird size, I had many reports from people traveling the Xcalak-Mahahual road that there were many baby deer laying along the side of the road. One person counted seven.
We had so much rain, we were all delighted that our cisterns were full again. For the animals that live in the jungle at the side of our road it is miserable, their "homes" were flooded, stayed flooded and then the huge mosquitoes came. Everybody I spoke to, Mexican and American said the same, poor things, and we all hope that they managed to survive. (NOTE from Marcia: the huge mosquitoes were not seen north of Mahahual to my knowledge, although we did have our fair share at dusk for a few evenings)
I wrote about the Red Throated Humming Birds visiting my garden and feeders. I got an email saying thanks for the heads up, and they had now reached my friend's garden in the states, (no I don't know exactly where, in the middle somewhere I think,sorry) and were delighting her. I had actually written that piece six weeks before she emailed, for little bitty things they certainly do travel.
June 1st is Marino's Day in Mexico, here in Xcalak, it's well attended every year, this year was no different. We gathered at the end of the town pier to join in the remembrance prayers and speech. A beautiful wreath is put on board the lead boat with Suzy, Capitania the Puerto on board. This heads out to the cut in the reef followed by all the other boats filled with the fishermen, and people from the pueblo. The wreath is cast in the ocean outside the reef and then the procession of boats returns to the pier. We were all invited to have taco's and soda's that were waiting in the Zocalo, organized by Suzy with help from Lady. Most of us know of somebody that has lost their life in an ocean. Time for reflection.
2nd June was Xcalak's 110th birthday. The Delgado and his wife worked hard to arrange a fiesta, which was held on Saturday and Sunday. It was a great success, we had dancers, Mariachi, football, a bikini competition, slippery pole climbing, the dogs liked the grease on the pole, they spent a great deal of time licking it off!. There was also a raffle for a motor bike.
The bikini competition was won by Tracy, as she said, 100% Xcalakana The whole pueblo turned out and had great fun
If you have something you want included in the classifieds, please send it to email@example.com. Limit text to 100 words and pictures no larger than 216 pixels wide. 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 being done as a community service. This month there is only one, but I hope to have more next month. .
FIXER-UPPER HOUSE FOR SALE
2 Bedroom 2 bathroom Beachfront House by owner. There was some damage from Hurricane Dean (structurally sound). Will sell "As is". Located about one km. north of the Uvero Beach Club
Casa Roja was one of the few structures in the area that survived Hurricane Dean, a category 5 storm. Needless to say, the home is extremely well built. $9K USD was spent after the storm to reinforced the foundation (soil added and compacted), which was not damaged during the storm. While the structure is sound, accessories were lost in the storm (doors, windows, generator ruined, solar panels, etc). To keep the property safe, we pay a grounds keeper to live on the property. Power is supplied from generator and water is from a cistern.
Asking: $225,000 USD
Located North of Uvero - Casa Rojo
Lot size: 20m x 42.38m x 20m x 39m Beachfront
Builder: Rex Sunderland
Looking for Articles
If anyone would like to submit articles to this newsletter that would be informational to others, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims
that the information here is completely true. I am not a news reporter,
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verifying information and this is not my primary business, but rather a
service to the neighborhood. If you find something untrue PLEASE let me
know and I will print a disclaimer. I try to verify the information but
even the newspaper prints up rumors, so I can only report what I read
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