6, 2005 - Hurricane Wilma edition**********
- Hurricane Wilma - aftermath on the Costa Maya
--Mahahual, Placer and Chetumal
- Costa Maya Road report
- Mayan Beach Garden report
- Homes for rent
Wow has this been a wild October. In the first
part of the month we found ourselves in Chiapas
getting rained out from remnants of hurricane
Stan, then during a vacation to the states, we
watched helplessly as we were stuck in the US
during Hurricane Wilma. We had made the decision
not to return when we thought it was going to
be a category 1 with an eye only 2 miles across.
Didn't sound too bad. The next morning we woke
to find a category 5 and the worst hurricane in
history. By that time it was too late to get a
For 10 days we tried getting back. Finally we
gave up on Cancun and flew into Merida. Although
the drive time is only 1/2 hour longer, it seemed
much further because we were unaccustomed to the
road. As an alternative airport, however, it isn't
too bad. Going through customs and immigration
was a fraction of the time it takes in Cancun
and getting luggage was equally quick. Porters
are waiting to pick up your luggage, take your
through customs and on out to the parking lot.
I took note of Avis, Executive and Hertz rental
booths right in the airport. There may have been
others, but I was anxious to get out. The only
down side was that when we hit the "Pase"
button, we got a red light. We were bringing items
that potentially should have been taxed, but they
didn't bat an eye and let us right through after
determining that our solar equipment was not computer
parts! All in all it I can recommend it. There
are also great hotels both in downtown Merida
if you want to spend a few days in that area (also
to be recommended) , decent hotels in Ticul and
in Santa Elena if your flight gets in somewhat
late and you just need a place on the way down.
You may find you have to fly into Merida at some
This entire newsletter is dedicated to news of
Hurricane Wilma. I will send out the normal newsletter
next month. You can find this newsletter and archives
of past newsletters at this location:
You can also view pictures of Wilma's aftermath
in and around Mahahual at this location on the
Mayan Beach Garden Website: http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/wilma.htm.
I will continue to add pictures as we discover
new areas and take pictures.
HURRICANE WILMA - AFTERMATH ON THE COSTA MAYA
Mahahual faired fairly well, The water and debris
covered the road and sent logs hurling into the
buildings. The town and locations north were under
an evacuation order. Super Carolina looked like
a big log had smashed into one of its steel doors
and created a big dent. I feel hurtling debris
was probably the biggest danger as there was no
damaging wind and the area took the rain pretty
well. There was beach erosion, but it didn't appear
that they lost much because the rocks are so close
the surface. You can see exposed rock on the shore
where previously there was none. Many of the palapas
on the beach were washed out to sea and some docks
were severely damaged, but we didn't see any damage
to any of the permanent buildings. A tremendous
amount of sand was deposited in town and in various
spots along the coastal road. There was up to
a foot and a half of sand in some areas as far
south as km 18 and we could see areas of some
fairly severe beach erosion. The road has already
been graded and you can get through in those areas.
Mahahual benefited from the storm in that the
cruise ships in Cozumel are being diverted to
Costa Maya. This last week had been scheduled
to only have 2 or 3, but they had 12 that I know
of and even three on Saturday, almost unheard
The influx of extra business in Mahahual has
brought mixed blessings. Looking for tourist dollars,
vendors from Cancun and Playa del Carmen have
come to Mahahual to sell their wares. This in
itself is not bad, but there are reports of vendors
with permits loosing prime spaces to vendors from
up north who lack permits. Obviously tempers flared,
but the chamber of commerce stepped in and negotiated
a way for everyone to "play" in the
sand of Mahahual. There are also extra Military
in the area--I am glad to see them here so that
we don't any activities that we have heard reported
RIO-INDIO TO PLACER
The further north one goes, the bigger the waves.
That doesn't mean there was more damage because
of the health of the reef. We only saw damage
to palapas and unreinforced concrete floors in
shacks on the beach. Here, the water went high
enough that it crested the highest portion of
the land and then flowed downwards to the road
as far back as 100 meters from the beach. This
flooded the beach road making exit an impossibility
for a couple of days and dumped huge amounts of
sand on the road in areas closer to Rio Indio.
There didn't seem to be a huge amount of beach
erosion, rather beach reshaping. This sounds odd,
but the cutting action of the waves removing sand
was followed by a push of sand that deposited
up to 18 extra inches in some areas. Neighbors
to the south of us in Placer whose house was two
feet above the sand prior to Wilma now find the
sand level with their floor. Lots of trees were
lost, but sand was deposited where they used to
be. Properties in the center of the bays seem
to have had their beach more severely "reshaped"
than properties at the point, but the points themselves
were reshaped. Tide pools were altered and extra
sand was deposited in some areas and others appeared
to not have been touched. I saw fishermen out
yesterday wandering around looking for their favorite
spot and having a hard time finding it.
I haven't had a chance to go north of Uvero,
although I have talked to people who said it seemed
to be similar to Placer in how the storm affected
it. I will post pictures of that on my website
when I do. I also hope to go up to Punta Herrera
and check out the village there. I saw a big grader
headed north on the road so I am optimistic that
they are going to do the same type of grading
that occurred along the beach-road here and we
can make it there next week.
COSTA MAYA ROAD REPORT
I mentioned the sand that covered the coast road
in the reports above. This was actually some of
the better areas to drive through when I drove
the coast road this week. Other areas had big
dips in them and were full of standing water from
the rain we have had lately . This is especially
true of the roads around 15 km South of Mahahual.
I couldn't tell if it was rain or overflow from
the Mangroves, but the water was almost car swallowing
depth and a little unnerving to drive through.
North from Rio-Indio to Placer the road is in
much better shape. There are a few big potholes
in the road, but they are not very big and with
only a little water in them. Around Placer the
beach roads are especially good because Paradise
Hotel tries to keep the potholes maintained by
filling the potholes with Kalichi. We all benefit
from their diligence in maintaining the road so
it doesn't take us 45 minutes to go 3 kilometers.
Thank you Paradise!
The jungle roads, or paved roads that parallel
the beach road has taken some wear this wet season.
All have some potholes, with the first two kilometers
south on the road to Tampalam being the worst.
The access road at km. 18 South to Xcalak is also
fairly beaten up.
There is exciting news on the highway front.
Last week I was able to drive on concrete all
the way from Cafetal Junction to Chetumal. This
is pretty exciting and cut the time down by 10
minutes. The road is far from finished as in many
areas this will be 4 lanes, but you can see the
end of the tunnel and hopefully the trip will
get even shorter. By the way, Chetumal was not
affected by the hurricane - not even high water.
NEWS FROM MAYAN BEACH GARDEN
I couldn't end this e-mail without thanking you
for all your e-mails and concern for us, our staff,
our property and Buddy. Our fabulous staff refused
to leave even after an evacuation order by the
military and worked so hard to clean the place
up so it could reopen on time. Many of you who
have stayed at Mayan Beach Garden know Alex and
Rafael who held down the fort in our absence along
with Buddy, our "pain in the but" dog.
He has become quite the water dog, riding logs
as if they were a surf board and jumping into
the water. Our staff thought he was gone several
times, but he always managed to swim to a safe
spot. Miss Moo made it through equally unscathed
along with a lot of other wild felines. We hope
other pet owners were equally blessed.
We lost quite a bit of beach height close to
the water. Many people say they like the new beach,
but we lost a lot of trees in the process. Having
lost trees before, we know that we can replant
and you quickly get used to the new look. The
salt water crested over our high point on our
property and flowed down hill to the road taking
debris, logs, grass and garbage with it. We lost
an umbrella palapa at the front of the beach as
well. The salt water killed many of our plants.
When I drove the beach road I saw 20-30 year old
trees dead from the salt water. I also noted that
many trees were shocked but not killed by the
salt. Some palms were killed, as were many papayas
and ornamental trees. The deep magenta colored
Bouganvillais were shocked and lost leaves, but
still appear to hang in there. Even Chechen was
affected and dropped leaves, but is far from dead.
You will see that the jungle is much thinner in
areas where this happened as it also killed a
lot of the ground cover that we pay labor to clear,
so now I am wondering if salt water is a better
and safer herbicide!
I've been asked about the reef. The weather has
been so bad and visibility poor every day so I
haven't been able to see what is out there. I
went out today and what I could see didn't look
good. Lots of mushroom caps were turned over on
their heads and the floor was scattered with finger
coral and organ pipes. It was hard to tell if
it was all from Wilma or just stirred up sand
that is exposing past damage as everything was
covered with sand. I will keep checking and give
you a more accurate report next month.
We know some of you live in Florida and the gulf
states are recuperating from you own weather issues.
We hope all of you made it through this season
with minimal damage and that we won't have another
repeat next year.
HOMES FOR RENT
I quickly wanted to mention that several neighbors
have listed their homes for rent on our website
including the Hadfield's, which was spotlighted
a few months ago and is located near the 18 km
south Mahahual access road. If you are coming
down and want to stay in a house let us know and
we can book it for you. You can view the existing
homes at http://www.mayanbeachgarden.com/Rental_Homes.html.
By the way, all the homes did great through Wilma.
Some had a little water and sand inside, all lost
some trees and most are a little closer to the
water, making renting them more fun than ever.
Hopefully next month all will return to normal!
Until next month. . .
Mayan Beach Garden