In their latest Atlantic hurricane forecasts issued earlier this month, Drs. Philip J. Klotzbach and William M. Gray of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, continue to “anticipate an above-average probability of United States and Caribbean major hurricane landfall” this year. The season runs from June 1 to November 30.
What that means to Puerto Aventurans who have returned north, in particular, is to assure their insurance policies are paid and in effect, their shutters closed and their contact information on the Yucatan in place. Too late to take action the day before a hurricane.
The federal Mexican government also has a committee in place to assure delivery of foodstuffs and other services to families and businesses in the event of a hurricane crisis.
As of June 1, the scientists were predicting 16 named storms,nine hurricanes and five major hurricanes churned up in the Atlantic heading for the United States and Caribbean.
The probability of at least one major storm tracking into the Caribbean was set at 61 percent with a 100 year average of 41 percent, so a bit higher than usual.
They set the probabilities of at least one major storm hitting the U.S. coastline at 72 percent (52 percent is the average for the last century); the U.S. East Coast including the Florida Peninsula, 48 percent (31 percent 100-year average); the Gulf Coast from the Florida Panhandle to Brownsville, Texas, 47 percent probability (30 percent 100 year average.)
The scientists said, “Information obtained through March 2011 indicates that the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season will have significantly more activity than the average 1950-2000 seasons. We estimate that 2011 will have about 9 hurricanes (average is 5.9), 16 named storms (average is 9.6), 80 named storm days (average is 49.1), 35 hurricane days (average is 24.5), five major (Category 3-4-5) hurricanes (average is 2.3) and 10 major hurricane days (average is 5.0).
This forecast is based on a June 1 new extended-range early statistical prediction scheme that utilizes 29 years of past data. Analog predictors are also utilized. “We expect current La Niña conditions to transition to near-neutral conditions during the heart of the hurricane season. Overall, conditions remain conducive for a very active hurricane season,” they said.
Forewarned is forearmed. The next forecast will be released August 3.
(Ed.Note. Readers will remember the 80-foot MV Dauntless suffered running-gear damage here last April when a sport fisherman took the north marina channel at high speed during an extra-low tide, causing two docked yachts to hit bottom. The owners of one of those yachts, the MV Dauntless, were asked to bring us up to speed on what has happened since then. Here is their report. Vicariously enjoy their trip with them as they currently snake up along the eastern U.S. seaboard to Cape Cod, MA, their summer digs.)
Once we cleared the PA harbor, we ran Dauntless up to 20 knots and she actually did quite well, despite the prop and rudder damage. There was some vibration, but not nearly as bad as we had feared. We ran at 20 knots for a little while to try to make up some of the time lost with the delayed departure. We experimented with a variety of speeds to see what throttle settings gave us the least vibration, and to see if we could in fact run at speed if conditions should suddenly dictate that we needed to change our plans enroute. The seas were very benign (mostly 1-2 footers and sometimes completely flat) for the entire trip (a rarity on Gulf crossings). By dusk the first evening, we were moving along at 10-12 knots, and at that speed we felt very little vibration (however, we could see the vibration on the shaft, so we definitely had to deal with the running gear sooner rather than later). As a bonus, at the slower speeds we burned a lot less fuel than we would have at 20 knots. We arrived in St. Petersburg with plenty of fuel reserves, a good thing since fuel prices had gone up a lot since we left the US in December!
After docking, the rest of Friday was spent sorting out a rental car so that we could drive to the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport to clear customs/immigration (these days, it is very rare that Customs and Border Protection actually sends someone down to the boat to clear you in; generally you have to go to them). Then it was on to get some good old-fashioned American comfort food (burgers, fries and milkshakes) and finally, we all needed to do some napping. We did manage to roust ourselves out in time to partake in the proper supervision of our first sunset on US soil (the sun did successfully set). Monday we started lining up people to work on the running gear, and others to fix/replace/upgrade other stuff before we head north for the summer.
On Wednesday April 20 we moved Dauntless to the Lazzara factory in Tampa so that
they could haul us out of the water to start the process of removing the rudders, props and shafts. Unfortunately the arrangement of the rudders and shafts requires that the rudders be removed in order to get the shafts out. Over the next several days, the Lazzara crew removed the running gear and sent them off to the various shops that were going to effect the repairs. The short version is that the starboard rudder suffered damage from the impact with the bottom (now successfully repaired); the starboard prop had damage to two blades (they were pushed forward and slightly bent at the tips, these too were repaired successfully); and the starboard shaft was bent, and unfortunately also cracked by the impact. Even more unfortunately, the cracked shaft could not be repaired and had to be replaced with a new one (ouch!). The repairs took a little over two weeks, and then everything had to be reassembled, and re-aligned. On Friday, May 6 we took Dauntless out for sea trials on our way back to our slip in St. Petersburg. She ran great!
Once back in our slip we pretty much turned the boat over to a number of very talented folks so that they could start doing the regular maintenance/upgrade and overhaul work necessary to keep a yacht in good working order in general, and that is particularly important when you mostly live aboard a yacht. We took that opportunity to get ourselves back to Houston to see if our townhouse was still where we left it way back last June. It was. Once this round of work on Dauntless is done (of course work on a boat is NEVER really completed), we will start heading North (by first heading South to Key West, then Miami and St. Augustine and finally on northward to Cape Cod for the summer). Our northbound trek will probably commence sometime in mid-June (earlier if the work gets finished).
We do plan to get back to Puerto Aventuras in December, despite the incident with the sports fishing boat that entered the harbor at full speed.
As for dealing with recovering the costs of the repairs, the wheels of justice turn slowly in Mexico, but we are making progress suing the owner of the boat that caused the damage. The final legal chapter will probably be written after we get back to PA for the winter!”
Of hard shells and soft hearts
Doe Stowell of Chac Hal Al took time to let us know about this event: “At about 10:20 last night (May 28, 2011) a security guard checking our beach saw a very large turtle (tortuga) come out of the water near the rocks and come to a spot under a palapa on the original beach.
“She started meticulously using her very strong flippers to dig a nest. After laying the eggs she went back into the water. The guard made a protection of chairs around the nest and he spent the night guarding her precious deposit. Today a more obvious protection was placed around the spot where the nest is. The guard is still guarding. I am sure that tomorrow one of the turtle protection groups will be notified and we will be advised what the next steps should be. The circle of life goes on and I am humbled.” Another loggerhead nest was found further down the beach, Stowell said, while nobody seems to remember a nest ever in front of Chac Hal Al.
The nests have been marked off with rocks and tape, experts in Akumal contacted, and, said Stowell, “I am walking the beach at first light to see if there are any tracts of new nests.” She said more nests could emerge since it is still early in the season.
The latest in keeping abreast with the FM3 process
Posted 6/11/2011 by The Waco Kid
A few of us have recently completed the visa renewal process and the information below should help you complete this process with minimum difficulty.
Log on to www.inm.gob.mx<http://www.inm.gob.mx/> and click “Tramites Migratorios Informacion” located at the the upper right side of the Home Page. Then click on the second item down “Estancia”(which means “stay” in English….to live in Mexico).
A new screen will come up showing the application form for which you will fill in the blanks. In the first box, your selection will be “Extender la estancia.” In the second box, click “Prorroga de no inmigrante.” Proceed to fill in the blanks with your information. There is a box on the form that says CURP. Leave it blank unless you actually have a CURP number.
When you complete the form, save it (guardar). Wait a few seconds and then you will see all your information, plus afile number. This indicates that you have now been recorded into the INM Computer System and have a file number. If you don’t have access to the internet you can fill this form out online in the immigration office since they have a computer at the front entrance. Print that page and bring it with you to Immigration. Also, bring your current FM3 (FM2) and Passport with you.
Bring a letter of explanation, signed by you, that briefly explains why you are requesting the visa and include a sentence saying that you swear the conditions for which the document was originally issued still exist. This letter must be in Spanish. If you cannot find a copy of this letter (there are several of us in Puerto who have one), Federico in the copy shop next to immigration will provide one for you for a fee.
If you need help, ask Federico in the little copy/photo office located to the left of immigration and the first office after you go up the stairs, to help prepare your documents for presentation and to take whatever photos will be required. He knows exactly what to do and charges a miniscule fee for the service.
You are now ready to visit the immigration office and present your application, but you must be within 30 days of your renewal date to do so. An immigration official will verify the correctness of your application materials and will give you a computer generated form, which among other information, will have your pieza number, NUT, web site to check on your next meeting, and your contrasena.
You check this form online for the status of your second appointment. When you go to the web site, click on “Consulta el estatus de su tramite” which is located on the right hand side. When that page appears, enter your pieza and contrasena. Click on “buscar”, and click on the drop down menu by “Seleccione de NUT”, and the status of your application will be shown at the bottom. Don’t expect immigration to schedule your meeting anytime soon. It could take at least 3 weeks. If you do not have an appointment after 3 weeks, go back to the immigration office and have them schedule an interview. I have yet to hear of anyone who has had this visit scheduled without going back to the office and insisting on an interview. Take a book with you to read as this visit can take a while.
When your second appointment is scheduled, a final review of your file will take place and you will be given an interview time which will be about a week later. At this second appointment you will be given two forms: Filiacion Playa del Carmen and a payment form you take to the bank the day of your interview, but prior to the interview. The Filiacion form asks for personal information such as height, weight, birth date, etc. and will tell you what type of photos you need. If all your information is correct, the interview should only take about 15 minutes. If for any reason you have any problems with your documents or pictures, you can go to the copy/photo office near the entrance to the immigration office and Federico will help you out. You will turn in all the information, be fingerprinted, sign more documents and told to come back later that day or the next day to sign for and pick up your credit card size visa.
Rumor has it that the immigration process is going to be revamped in the near future – manana – in that there will be no FM2 or 3 but that everyone will either be designated as “Resident” or “Nonresident.” The only thing constant in Mexico is change. Hopefully it will be for the better.
MORE BIZ BUZZ – Within the last couple of weeks, says The waco Kid, two new businesses have opened up at the Chedraui in Puerto. A Farmacia Similares opened up a couple of weeks ago in the left front side of the building closest to the highway. Farmacia Similares is a discount pharmacy. Just this past week a Telmex opened up inside the complex near the inside exit to Chedraui. They offer a wide variety of phones. Just down the hallway from Telmex more construction is going on. There are no signs up to indicate what business is going to locate in that space…SLUMP MENU – Restaurants throughout the peninsula are in a slump, says Fernando Vargas Aguilar, president of the National Industry and Seasonal Foods Restaurants. Consumers have cut their budgets 20 percent. People who spent 600 pesos now spend 400, buying one dessert for two people and not staying long after a meal…SAFETY FOR VISITORS – Q. Roo Gov. Roberto Velez Angulo got a morale booster from former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez whose security strategies restored confidence by reducing rates of kidnapping, murder, general violence and drug production in Colombia. He said Gov. Velez Angulo has the vision and will needed to battle insecurity and protect the 15 million tourists who visit Q. Roo each year. We wish him well in this effort…U.S GUNS =MEXICO VIOLENCE – Mexico President Filipe Calderon, noting he doesn’t want to change the U.S. Constitution, has nonetheless linked the rise in Mexican gun deaths and violence in 2005 with the end of the U.S. sales ban on Ak-47 type guns. He would like to see the ban re-imposed. Sounds sensible…A DEVICE TO CLONE ATM cards was discovered by police in a Banamex ATM machine at the Supermanzana in Cancun. It was removed by police and kept for evidence…RECALL THAT CLONING was also detected in bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Playa del Carmen in February and consumers warned by a federal agency to use caution…