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Costa Maya Newsletter> Archived Costa Maya Newsletters > Oct 2008 -

Costa Maya Newsletters: of primary interest to property owners from Mahahual / Majahual - Rio Indio - Placer - Uvero - Punta Herrera - Xcalak and other points along the southern coast of Quintana Roo

*******************Costa Maya Newsletter*******************
October/Octubre 2008


Hi Costa Maya Neighbors-The Good the Bad and the Ugly

After missing the entire month of September, I'm finally getting a newsletter out. Yes, I'm still here and everything is moving along on the Costa Maya in anticipation of the first cruise ship's arrival.

The title of this editorial has nothing to do with the Clint Eastwood movie (or does it?) and everything to do with things growing and getting back to normal. Healthy palm trees, growing mangroves, even Che-Chen leafing out almost makes me forget about hurricane Dean and fills me with a feeling of well-being (my favorite color is green!). The rainy season started mid September this year. I was getting worried that 2008 wasn't going to have a rainy season because of the long dry spell and a big high over the Yucatan. The high has been exchanged for a big low and now we have had 3 weeks of almost daily measurable precipitation and I for one am grateful. There are good and bad things to all of this water falling out of the sky:

The Good . . .
. . .The Bad . . .

. . .and the Ugly
Cisterns are full! Not enough Cisterns to take advantage of the windfall Frogs and crabs finding their way into the cisterns!
The Water table is up The roads are taking a beating. Water from run-off takes garbage with it dumping it into the sea & ending up on the beach
The Jungle is greening up, the mangroves are coming back and barren lots are looking better. Some of the foliage and vines are encroaching the road making the road narrow. What is the problem with Mahahual? The mangroves are brown trashy and ugly and not participating in the greening up - there are rumors. . .???
The flowers are Blooming The flowers share the space with some pretty aggressive vines Critters are eating some of them!
Lots of Dragonflies flying everywhere On days they don't show up we have mosquito's Some days they don't come! :-(
My palms are shooting up new sprouts and are green for the first time since Dean My Staff thinks that is a sign to trim (butcher) them just when I was basking in the lushness Well, you will just have to see what they did to a $100 dollar ornamental Palm. ;-(
The frogs and other little critters are delighting us everywhere Sometimes everywhere means in the road and they get squished Kim even saw a big ugly Crocodile about 8 feet long crossing the jungle road!
The temperature is much cooler My guests aren't thrilled with the less-than-perfect weather Rain mixing with salt water affects visibility when diving or snorkeling
Tabanos have about diminished Mosquito's are taking up where they left off , especially in Mahahual Now it is time to Fumigate, regardless of how "green" I would like to be, I don't want to live inside all the time.
It is great sleeping weather - dark cloudy mornings from early rain Sometimes my staff sleeps in. . . . . .Sometimes this over-achiever sleeps in!

Marcia with Baracuda

Past newsletters can be found at NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

PS If you are planning on a Thanksgiving or Christmas time visit - please book your accommodations soon! - Only a couple of properties left!



The new forum (well, not so new) called "Just Chatting" has been getting some traffic lately. There are quite a few questions posted in different subjects. Please take the time and look to see what is there. you might be able to help one of your neighbors or become better informed.

Just Chatting


Coco palms group buy at $21.50

If you haven't noticed, the lack of trees from Rio Indio north to Uvero and some parts beyond has been pathetic. As a result of the money collected for the road improvement project for the San Jose/Placer/Sapphire beach area, we planted trees with the money left over. A total of 227 trees were planted in the week after the full moon with more to be planted during the full moon in October. I'm taking orders if you want to be included in the second group planting. Trees are at least two meters planted (some taller) and come with a post for support and fertilizer. The ground is wet, so water is not needed right now. The type of palm planted is a Pacific variety that is more resistant to lethal yellow disease, but not completely immune. It is a very heavy coconut producer and hence it is used in this area for coconut plantations.

coco palm

We paid $20 a tree to the contractor for the first 227 trees, but due to some unaccounted expenses that came directly out of my pocket -- like broken shovels, posthole digger, tarp, buckets,etc., the price for the second planting will be $21.50 . (It is so Mexican when the contractor comes to the beach with no tools!)

If you would like to participate, money will have to be received by the date of the planting which will be more or less around the 15th of October. You will also have to supply very good location for your lot (like 4-20 meter lots N. of Mayan Beach Garden - that kind of thing). At this price, we can't spend half a day looking for your lot. What I did for the last planting was go along the road and spray paint the lot number and the lot lines. Contact me at for more information.

The image on the right is Anna Greenberg's lot transformed by the addition of coco palms. She had virtually no trees left after Dean, her lot being in San Jose which was especially hard hit during Dean. You may remember the "moonscape" pictures - well by next year, these trees will be nice and tall. Anna planted over 30 trees on her lot.

The purchase price of 21.50 USD includes:

  • Palm tree 2 meters
  • Delivered and planted
  • Support stakes
  • Palm fertilizer
  • Permit for transportation (on file at Mayan Beach Garden)
Anna's new trees
I've posted more pictures of tree planting on a Picasa photo album


polishing sea beans

For those of you who polish your sea-beans (or wondered what the best product is to polish them), there is now a kit you can buy from Kearsarge Peg Co. which specializes in industrial pastes and polishing. The paste is EC-4. Now they have a finishing kit for your tumbler that also includes course ground Walnut shells. The kits come in two sizes

Pegco Sea Bean Finishing Kit 1- ($24.99)
1 PT. EC-4 paste
15 1ls Coarse Walnut shell

Pegco Sea Bean Finishing Kit 2 ($34.99)
1 Qt. EC-4 paste
24 lbs Course Walnut Shell

Kearsarge Peg Co. Inc
Mill Street
PO Box 248
Bartlett, NH 03812
Tele: 603-374-2366
Fax: 603-374-2366

For those of you who are new to this newsletter and wonder what sea-beans are all about, please check out the sea bean web page on Mayan Beach Garden's web site. It includes additional links.

Mahahual/Majahual - Costa Maya Updates

Cruise ship returns to Mahahual/Majahual on Oct. 31

Last week, a representative from the pier announced that the first ship coming to the Costa Maya will be on Oct. 31 accompanied by a fiesta. However, on, it states that Disney Magic will be docking on the 28th.

International beach cleanup day observed in Mahahual

International beach clean-up day was officially observed in Mahahual for the first time. The day was Sept 20th and included reef dives to clean the reef, shore clean-up and other activities including the obligatory speeches I sent all my guests with multiple plastic bags and they filled up their cars with plastic trash. These efforts are only a nibble of the garbage on the Costa Maya. By the way - if anyone wants to dump off bags of clean plastic, you are welcome to drop them off here for garbage collection.

Raising money for Animal Clinic

Polly from Xcalak is spear-heading an effort to raise funds for the next Animal Clinic. The Clinic has not been announced yet, but why wait? Now I have to tell you that Polly has ulterior motives. Last year she personally rounded up 11 dogs and took them to the clinic to be spayed/ neutered and receive shots. Xcalak, is seeing a difference from a year ago. The mange hasn't been entirely eradicated but is much better. Also, there are hardly any puppies, but still a lot of dogs not neutered. Most of the females were spayed but more remain. On Sunday 21st of September a used clothing sale was held in the town of Xcalak. The prices ranged from 5 - 20 pesos, T - shirts, shoes, shorts, shirts and children's clothes and some toys. At the end of the day when all the money was counted there was about 500 pesos in "the kitty" towards the Vets food and even possibly a bottle of beer for after a hard days work. The vets volunteer their time and effort and work tirelessly all day long for no pay.

Now the BEGGING begins. Polly is asking for clothes that you no longer wear. If you are making a visit to the Costa Maya and have a little extra room in your suit-case for some items you no longer need, please consider donating them to the sale. Of course money is always welcome, but in this economic climate, donations of sellable items you don't use would be good for both the fund and the locals who have suffered greatly during the past year and look forward to purchasing items at a price they can afford. If there are enough donations, there will be a "jumble" sale on each 3rd Sunday 2-3:30 in Xcalak and then on the Friday following the 3rd Sunday in Mahahual. The sale in Mahahual will be at the Casitas - 2 houses West of Super Bere's little store which also services as the ADO bus station. The Mahahual sale will be at 4 in the afternoon.

You can drop donations off in Xcalak at Polly's house (if she is not there, just leave it on the porch) or an Mayan Beach Garden. We are looking for a place in Mahahual to drop them off as well.

Festival of Jats'a-Já (August 22-23, 2008)

The festival of Jats'a-Já celebrating the rebirth of Mahahual after Hurricane Dean was a great success. It would have been nicer had a few more people attended - but I surely enjoyed it, as it appeared did all the locals. Hopefully this will be repeated on a yearly basis. I've posted photos and commentary on last months newsletter site. Festival of Jats'a-Já

Festival of Jats'a-Já

Beach Combing Crafts

I don't know if I've ever mentioned this, but cigarette lighters are one of the most dangerous pieces of garbage that wash up on the shore. In fact, smoking related garbage is one of the most prevalent items on the beach. The rainbow colored transparent lighters full of butane end up in the stomach of birds who think it is a fish floating on the surface of the sea. A dog finding one on the beach and biting into it thinking it is something yummy can die if the butane leaks out into his system. Denise Clippard who will be coming to the Costa Maya in January made this charming set of lights using shells and colorful lighters she collected on the Costa Maya Beaches.

butane lights shell lights

bio-maya zip-line tour

Bio Maya zip line tour has been mentioned in this newsletter before, but lately, they've been mentioned all over the web as if they are already open. According to the web site they will open winter of 2008. Supposedly they are already booking for the cruise ships. If you want more information about the zip-line tour you can check out this web page. The web page is in Spanish with a little bit of English translation. It includes some very nice pictures of the zip line, although as in most Mexican web sites - lots of pictures but poorly designed. I had to laugh, the page under reservations that states the opening date has this little bit of English:

NEXT OPEN - WINTER 2008 Wait, will be great !

Map and directions:

Cool links on the Web for Biologist wannabe's

I hesitate to preface every link with the word "cool" but that seems to be the best word for these web sites. If you like biology (and who can help it when you live this close to nature) you will want to check these out! - This has to be the "coolest" bug identification web site I have found. The best part about this site is that you can go to a visual list of bugs and select something that is sort of like the bug. For example, I clicked on a Beetle and got more selections with pictures of Beetles. Some species are better represented than others, but this is a social site where people send in photos and experts identify them. I found the plentiful but harmless beetle that is all over the place this time of year is a long horned leaf beetle.

Tree of Life Project - This web site's unbelievable goal it to map the entire living world into a single tree. It has a long way to go, but the pictures, movies, and other wonderful information is mind boggling. Give it a try!

Cycads -"Cycads are woody-stemmed plants with leaves that resemble those of ferns and palms. However cycads are not closely related to either of these plants. They are actually cone and seed-bearing plants more closely related to pine trees. Cycads are members of a classification of plants known as gymnosperms, plants which do not bear flowers, but, rather bear cones, or "naked" seeds that develop on the individual cone scales. Cycads are truly living fossils, having existed for nearly 280 million years on earth, since the Cretaceous and Jurassic periods. Certainly, any family of plants that has lived this long on earth has a special aura to it"(from the web site) AND the hardy Sago palm (Cycads revolute) which will grow on the beach is of this family.

National Geographic report on the economic value of Mangroves - This isn't so cool and it isn't even about the mangrove groves here, but a report on the gulf of California. Still, the financial impact of removing mangroves is the same. It is worthwhile for us all to be educated about this touchy subject.

Florida Museum of Natural History - For those looking for a new word to throw around - this web site for budding Ichthyologists (branch of zoology that studies fish) is for those biologist wannabe's whose eyes glass over when someone mentions that latin names of species. The landscape of florida waterways is not that dissimilar from the Costa Maya, so this is very informative with good navigation. It includes a good list of Ichthyology Links


Mangroves - a little education

I think I've finally come to embrace Mangroves. Especially now that they are greening up and the birds and small animal species are returning to the Costa Maya. Mangroves are really an echo system that includes the species mangle. When the Mangroves are not green - it just isn't pretty here. Mahahual/Majahual is very sad these days. When you drive into town, the Mangroves are dead and ugly. When you look most other places, the Mangroves are coming back quickly. One usually associates mangroves as living in water, but that is what usually gets people in trouble when they cut something down. You may have dry land and still have mangroves on your property and not even know it. This isn't bad, because the dry land versions are usually tall beautiful trees of the black or white variety. I thought many of those tall trees had died after Dean, but now some are poking out new leaves - a year after they were stripped bar of all foliage.

Mangrove Species found in the Costa Maya (link to images at the end of list):

  • Red mangrove – Rhizophora mangle Grows farthest out in the water, has stilt roots, excludes salt through old leaves, long propagules that they drop and may float for months to new locations. If you have this species close to your property you may find the water dark or red. This is from the tannins of the leaves and roots changing the color of the water.
  • Black mangrove – Avicennia germinans “prop” or “pencil” roots, grows generally just inside of Rhizophora zone . These can grow very tall and are quite beautiful. I didn't associate this tree with mangrove for a long time.
  • White mangrove - this species grows almost exclusively on dry ground, but where the ground may be saturated. This is a common species to the area and is a very beautiful tree.
  • You can find pictures and descriptions of these three species at this link:

Mangrove Mangrove surrounded lagoon Mangroves near solymar
Aerial views of the vast mangroves of the Costa Maya


17th August: Yesterday I went to pick up Sparky who had taken the wonderful ADO bus service from Playa del Carmen to Mahahual. It pulls up at the Casita stop. I wait for him to disembark, no Sparky! I harass the driver, after three attempts my very bad Spanish manages to elicit an answer, Sparky got off the bus at the terminal in town because he was hungry!
Now I really should have remembered about "selective hearing". With an ex-husband and three sons I kinda know that all males are born with it, so why am I surprised that Sparky's in Mahahual town instead of the Casitas where we arranged to meet. Off I go to town where I find him trudging up the road in the midday sun with his baggage, all hot and bothered and pleased to see the car and me. "I knew I was wrong when you weren't there" he says. On the way out we pick up a guy who wants a lift to the hardware store. Sparky would also like to go to the hardware store, no problem.

Matahaul Jose Luis is such a nice, clever man. He waves Sparky round behind the counter while he and I chat and drink sodas. Sparky now does his impression of a kid in a toy shop. He's opening boxes and peering along shelves and coming up with all sorts of things he "couldn't find in Chetumal or Honduras". He holds up a flash light saying "I had one of these when I was a kid, they were making these before we were born "(jeez that's a long. long time) Asking the price he decided that it was quite a lot more expensive than the one he had had when he was a kid!!!!! The counter was strewn with all sorts of treasures, bolts, screws, nuts, and of course the flashlight. Sparky had a wonderful time and all for less than fifty dollars. It was a great hour or more ....... I'm still chuckling.

"Run for your Life" I have an Uncle in England, he is 88years old, he used to be an announcer for the BBC World Service Radio. I received this email after he had heard that a hurricane was headed our way. I sincerely hope nobody takes offense to the following email, please read this with a very stiff upper lip Queens English accent.

Dear Heart,

We hear that a windy bastard with a German name is about to impose himself upon you. As an alternative it is always said here that when faced with the inevitable the best thing is to close your eyes, hang on to the bedpost and think of England. It does not sound good enough. For Christ's sake dig a hole or something - you are too precious to be blown away. Good luck and all our Love, We may pray for you a little - if you don't think that is too far over the top.-- Peter

It goes without saying that I love him to bits, so after a couple of days I thought I would phone him on Skype. I dial up, straight through--Peter ****** speaking, Hello Peter, Madam I don't know who you are, this is Peter ****** if you want to have a conversation with me kindly speak now or get off the line. This went on for a couple of minutes and then he hung up on me. I redialed, after five minutes of going through the family genealogy he realized it was me.................... he was so embarrassed he handed the phone over to my Aunt!!

The M+M Birthday Bash was held at the Leaky Palapa at the end of last month. It started early afternoon and went on until ............. after I left for my bed anyway. Great burgers and hot-dogs off the grill,enough alcohol to make it all interesting, and good music to dance to. Can't ask for more or better. If you should get an invite in future, come.

Birthday bash

Talking to Jorge dive master/captain last week, he reported a manatee in La Pozeta. He was sooooooooooo excited as were the divers.

Last but certainly not least, this 'old British bird ' is walking around with a big grin on her chops. I have a resident humming bird. A Green -breasted Mango. No don't say "so what" we, the British, do not have humming birds on our fair but, cold, very wet island. This is yet another first for me. It is smaller than the laundry pegs that it sits next to on the washing line. It may sip all the nectar from my garden, absolutely free reign--Wonderful.

Polly in Xcalak

spam wars

Many of the Newsletters I send never arrive at their destinations. The trouble is mostly with servers trying to filter out spam. Many filters assume that anything issued en masse, such as this Newsletter, is spam, and delete it. I expect the problem will only get worse. Eventually these email-delivered Newsletters may have to be abandoned, and readers will need to go to the archives on the Internet to read them. If someday you realize you haven't received your Newsletter and you'd like to read the latest, you can find it online at NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES In fact, it may be a good idea to bookmark that page and just try to remember to visit it from time to time. Pictures are included on the site as well.

us consulate updates

The U.S. Consulate in Merida is updating our database of registered U.S. citizens. The older list of registered U.S. citizens will be merging with a more current computer based system. To be included in the computer based system, you can re-register through the Department of State’s internet registration system: Some (but not all) of you are also registered in the computer based system. If you received an e-mail from the consulate about absentee voting dated October 1, 2008, you are in the new system and do not need to re-register. If you did not receive that October 1, 2008 e-mail directly from the consulate (as opposed to receiving it from some other source), please take a few moments to register now. Registering guarantees that you receive bulletins about absentee voting, hurricanes, and special events that the consulate coordinates for the American citizen community on the Yucatan peninsula. Registration is both for tourists and long-term residents.


The editor of this newsletter (me) makes no claims that the information here is completely true. I am not a news reporter, Spanish is not my native language, the newspapers are notorious for not 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 and hear.

Unless otherwise stated, all content is copyrighted by MMB Contractors Inc.

Until next month,
Best wishes from your neighbor,



Updated: 26-Oct-2008

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