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Monthly Archives: March 2014

Octogenarian throws birthday bash

REMINDERS:

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME in the Yucatan will occur Sunday, April 6, when we spring forward one hour. This will return us to one hour behind the U.S. Eastern Time. We are currently two hours behind the U.S. Eastern since daylight saving went into effect there March 9. That put us two hours behind the U.S. eastern time zone until April 6. Tune in for 6:30 Eastern Time news at 4:30 until then.
FOOD FEST participants sought by Colonos for March 30 event. Sign up at the Colonos office!!
CARIBBEAN NIGHT
March 24, Latitude 20, Harry the Entertainer PLUS songstress Teresa Lopez, together to entertain you 7-9 p.m.
VILLA CHOICES for families, friends. Click on Akumal Villas at left for a family vacation.
REPAIR LEAKS BEFORE THE RAINY SEASON, click on Definitive Solutions for help.
LIBRARY HOURS   Mon-Fri from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. More than 15,000 English and Spanish books to choose from.
ENTERTAINMENT NIGHTLY at Latitude 20 Restaurant
RESERVE NOW for summer car storage at Riviera Maya vehicle and boat storage. Click the logo at left.
REMEMBER Puerto Aventuras Catering for small house parties or large weddings

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At least 20 participants will cook

native foods at March 30 fest

U.S., Canada conspicuous by their absence

 

By Staff
There is room for four more participants in the 4th annual world gastronomic event being held from 1 to 5 p.m. March 30 at the Colegio grounds and the Colonos Cultural Committee is hoping someone or a group will come forward to add a few more recipes to the stew.

We have 20 participants signed in,” said Chairman Jorge Kaufer, “and we still have four spaces we would like to fill. We don’t have anyone representing the USA or Canada.” He did say, judging from the success of the previous events, it is best to come early. “If you want to sample everything, arrive early. By 3 or 4 p.m. some countries will be out of food.”

He said there will be live music for several hours and that the Puerto Aventuras Sailing Club, which has been putting Puerto Aventuras on the national sailing map with its collection of victory medals and hosting national regattas, will have the beverage concession selling beer, wine and soft drinks (maybe coffee). Proceeds will help fund the club’s participation in annual events throughout the country and scholarships for young sailors.

Tickets to the event are $150 for adults and $100 for children at the entrance. Country recipes to be tasted are from Cuba, Italy, France, Serbia, Jamaica, India, Argentina, Switzerland and from areas of Mexico.

 

 

 

Puerto’s latest octogenarian throws

birthday bash filled with local history

 

By Staff
“It’s been great!”

That was resident Doe Stowell’s self-assessment of her 16-year affiliation with Puerto Aventuras as nearly 90 well-wishers attended her 80th birthday party at the Latitude 20 Restaurant Tuesday night, including members of a Mayan family she befriended seven years ago.

The invitation noted, characteristically, “no gifts” but it was an edict she herself did not follow by picking up the tab for an enjoyable evening of camaraderie, delicious food and drink for the many multi-cultural friends she’s made over the years. The bonds were tied by a profound curiosity of and friendship with the Mayan people and culture to the point of learning to speak some of the language.

The metaphorical frosting on her cake was being surrounded by her family members, three children and six grandchildren, who were together for the first time in a decade and who lavished great affection upon her. Also present was the Mayan family she helped over the years and caused moments of wonder as several generations of that family, the elder women garbed in white, laced native dresses, made a dignified entrance cradling a substantial bouquet of white lilies.

Doe has been a fixture along the Dolphin Walk for most of her years here, starting with an informal breakfast club with the late Parker Woods and others including his daughter, Sally Evans, that persisted at various local restaurants even after Mr. Woods’ passing and continues today, “…although I don’t get out that much anymore,” Doe said.

She created an artistic canvas through the years here as she spent entire days wearing a large-brimmed

hat and sitting in a portable chair into the night to watch dolphin births. “The Dolphin Discovery staff was so generous with biological information,” she said, “…that I think I earned two years of biology credits.”  As one thing leads to another, she also developed an abiding interest in the ritual of sea turtles and their propagation on nearby beaches where she would venture to protect the nests.

Her interest in one particular Mayan family sprouted from a program that delivered Christmas gifts in the Poblado. One family there asked that any gifts intended for them should be given instead to a severely handicapped family member living two hours away in a Mayan village.

Two days before Christmas, Doe traveled with Carrie Conn, who had just founded “Carrie’s Heart” to help in situations such as these, and a member of the Poblado family as a guide to find the relatives in a jungle village where only Mayan was spoken. Doe said she was so taken by the abject poverty found there and the condition of the handicapped youth, that she stayed with the project through the following years.

“When I first walked into the boy’s room, I was taken by his plight. I sat there and stroked him and told him he was beautiful.The other children there were sadly lacking in nutrition.  We arranged to buy a refrigerator and a steady supply of nutritious foods and provide therapy for the boy,” she said. He has since died but the family situation has improved greatly by being able to rent decent housing,” she said.

Doe came to Puerto from the frigid environs of Minnesota and in the few years prior to her 80th birthday has had a lingering illness that has reduced her otherwise energetic community and environmental activities, but not her unending interest in them.

But it wasn’t all giving. Shortly after arriving in Puerto in January, she e-mailed: “I am so delighted to open windows, greet the sun (even if it is the 50s) , look at the sea, and see people here.” Nearly 90 people on Tuesday night gave testimony the feeling is mutual.

 

 

Fewer hurricanes predicted here,

but prepare for them anyway

Compiled by Staff
A fresh report from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center (CPC) suggests changes could be on the way for weather patterns across the U.S. and the globe with resultant impact on hurricane predictions for 2014.

According to the report, the chance of an El Niño re-emerging this year has increased. And, if the models are correct, that could mean fewer named storms in the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season and potential drought relief for parts of California later this year.

Nonetheless,  El Nacional (SMN) Weather Service reporting from Chetumal issued the first forecast of hurricane season 2014 for the Atlantic area with a prediction of 10 tropical storms.

Through a video conference, the director of the SMN, Juan Manuel Caballero, agrees the Yucatan Peninsula is favored by the possible presence of El Niño beginning in July, which brings drought to much of the country except for the Yucatan.

The preliminary forecast for the June-November 2014 hurricane season is for 10 tropical storms in the Atlantic basin. Three will be tropical storms, five moderate hurricanes (categories 1 and 2) and two intense (3, 4 and 5). A more precise forecast will be released next month and the seasonal forecast will be reported on May 1 for a more accurate prediction.

The approved names for the 2014 hurricane season are Amanda, Boris, Cristina, Douglas, Elida, Fausto, Genevier, Hernan, Iselle, Julio, Karina, Lowell, Marie, Norbert, Odile, Polo, Rachel, Simon, Trudy, Vance and Winnie.

An El Niño cycle can occur every two to seven years, when weaker trade winds allow warmer water around the equator in the far eastern Pacific Ocean to emerge. That warmer water changes wind patterns and alters storm cycles around the globe.

In general, the eastern tropical Pacific ocean cycles between three phases: El Niño (warmer than average sea-surface temperatures), La Niña (cooler than average sea-surface temperatures) and a neutral phase in which sea-surface temperatures are generally near long-term averages.

Since spring 2012, the eastern Pacific ocean has been in the neutral phase, but according to the latest NOAA/CPC report, there’s now a 50 percent chance that equatorial waters in the Pacific will warm sufficiently to meet the criteria for an El Niño. As a result, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has issued an El Niño Watch for summer 2014.

Even if forecasts for fewer storms stand, Colonos officials remind residents, particularly snowbirds who are not here during the hurricane season, to assure the tightness and safety of their living units and arrange a local contact they can count on to assist in the event of a hurricane.

 

 

 

Commerce Corner…

 

Jessie Gelato brand becomes

a hit with Puerto Aventurans

By Staff
We were invited to an impromptu dinner the other night over at Gayle and Deanne Sandholm’s condo along the lush golf course tree line where Gayle has earned a reputation as birdman of Puerto Aventuras. They told us they also had a surprise guest, a sweet but not sugary type who, they said, we would surely enjoy.

They were right.

After a delightful al fresco dinner on the veranda, the Sandholms brought out home-baked brownies and placed a round, pint-sized carton on the table, lifted the lid and, voila! – there was Jessie Gelato, a palate pleasing personality looking as cool as new-fallen snow.

Gelato is the Italian word for “ice cream” taken from the Latin “gelatus” meaning “frozen.” It is created generally with a mix of ingredients that includes milk, cream, various sugars, flavorings and fruits blended in a traditional centuries-old Italian way. While the ingredients are much the same, it is how one apportions and measures them that makes the difference in taste and texture.

Jessie Gelato is the brand name given to the year-old “gelatoria” in Puerto Aventuras located in a retail condo between the Aquanauts Dive shop and the “Pub” on the delightful Marina Centro dolphin walk.

The Jessie brand is made daily on the premises by Marten and Valerie, a husband and wife team of European roots, whose daughter, by some coincidence, is also named Jessie. They brought their distinct recipes and creative juices from a far-away place we’ve all heard of, Monte Carlo, an administrative ward of the Principality of Monaco, known for its ritzy casino and wealthy visitors.

Marten is Dutch and Valerie is French. They met in Monte Carlo where Marten was a top-notch salesman for high end cars – what else? – selling for up to $300,000. Valerie was his secretary, became his wife and, Marten quips, has since been promoted to sales manager of Jessie Gelato.

After 25 years of selling cars, Marten and Valerie decided it was time for something else. “But what, and where?“ That’s where daughter Jessie comes in. “I used to go deep-sea fishing and when we came to the Riviera Maya on a vacation in Playa (del Carmen) seven years ago, I heard about Capt. Rick’s (Sport fishing Center) here in Puerto Aventuras and decided to try fishing again. Then we started coming here regularly for vacations and fishing.

“After one fishing trip, Jessie asked if we could go buy some gelato and Glenna (Uecker) an owner of Capt. Rick’s, said there wasn’t any place that sold gelato here and that maybe I should open one. I just laughed it off,” Marten said.

But a year later, as decision time approached to leave Monte Carlo in search of new meaning and simplicity in life, “Glenna’s idea struck me as a possibility.” Marten had a friend at a large Monaco hotel with a substantial “gelatoria” who led him to an Italian master gelato maker willing to share the art. “He told me to keep life simple. Sell pizza or gelato.”

He also told Marten there were two ways to run a gelato business, the easy away, which would be to order pre-mixed product from wholesalers and lose all control of the product, or the other more satisfying way making his own gelato from scratch. That’s the only way  to maintain control of the product and the satisfaction of creating new flavors with locally grown fruit. Marten chose the way to satisfy the creative urge. And it paid off.

“I tried the gelato one day,” said Liliet Duschkin. of the nearby WeRWater Co., “but I told Marten it was too sweet for my taste. A few days later Marten brought a sample for me to try. It was sweetened perfectly! I’ve been a fan ever since” – providing just one example of being able to coach the product to play to local tastes and adopt new flavors from local fresh fruit.

The move to Mexico included spending nearly a year collecting the permits and fulfilling other business requirements.  Nine months ago, Marten and Valerie finally opened the first made-on-the-premises “gelatoria” in Puerto Aventuras. It offers 20 flavors of gelato from dark chocolate to whiskey cream  and other exotic-sounding flavors, to nine fresh-fruit sorbets easy on the diet and light and refreshing as a fine dessert that doesn’t pack on the weight.

Some diners from nearby restaurants stop by after dinner for dessert and join strollers for a leisurely bite of delight on the cozy patio. In addition, Marten sells wholesale to a number of restaurants and also packages gelato to bring home, like the Sandholms did to surprise their guests.

Jessie Gelato opens early with a smile on his face to make the day’s fresh products. The stand closes when the surrounding restaurants call it a night and satisfied strollers vanish into their abodes with a pleasing gelato flavor on their breath. (Click on the Jessie Gelato logo in the column at left for more product information on Jessie’s web site.)

 

 

 

 

 

WeRWater represents two new products,

‘Desincal’ water softener, ‘Kolorines’ tile

 

Two new products were unveiled this week at WeRWater Co., one of which promises to soften water and get rid of pesky calcium deposits clogging water heaters, shower heads, faucet filters and more using no-fuss electronics rather than chemicals. WeRWater is also now carrying a Mexican-made line of tile by Kolorines, manufactured in Cuernavaca.

An electronic device manufactured in Europe by the Desincal Corp. and first installed in Playa del Carmen in 1995, is now available through WeRWater, located on the Dolphin walk in Puerto Aventuras with an entrance just across from the Omni Hotel. The water softener and de-scaler is a small device attached to the metal water pipe. It emits an electrical frequency inside the pipe. The frequency changes the natural shape of the limestone molecules that allowed the limestone to calcify. The new shape, like needles, forms crystals that will not stick to anything, thus clearing and preventing pipes, filters, shower heads of further calcification.

The device comes in varying sizes for single condo units and homes, hotels, industries and also is said to improve water for agriculture and gardening. The devices require no maintenance, use very little electricity and are guaranteed for five years but generally last much longer. The device must be attached to metal which is required for the process, so where plastic piping is concerned, a small slice is replaced by metal during installation. More information on these products available at WeRWater, 984-873-5283.

 

Spring sprouts today, March 20,

and revives snake at Chichen Itza

Spring begins today, March 20, 2014 at the time of the vernal equinox, when night and day are nearly 12 hours each. Equinox in Latin means “equal night.”

But in reality equinoxes don’t have exactly 12 hours of daylight. The March equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north.

This happens either on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. On any other day of the year, the Earth’s axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth’s axis tilts neither away from nor towards the Sun, like the above illustration shows.

There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. Seasons are opposite on each side of the equator, so the equinox in March is also known as the “spring equinox” in the northern hemisphere. However, in the southern hemisphere, it’s known as the “autumnal or fall equinox”

In the northern hemisphere the March equinox marks the start of spring and has long been celebrated as a time of rebirth. Many cultures and religions celebrate or observe holidays and festivals around the March equinox, like Easter and Passover.

Equinoxes – along with solstices – have been celebrated in cultures all over the world for as long as we have written history. One of the most famous ancient Spring equinox celebrations was the Mayan sacrificial ritual by the main pyramid in Chichen Itza, Mexico.

The main pyramid – also known as El Castillo – has four staircases running from the top to the bottom of the pyramid’s faces, notorious for the bloody human sacrifices that used to take place there.

The staircases are built at a carefully calculated angle which makes it look like an enormous snake of sunlight slithering down the stairs at the precise moment of the equinox.

Knowledge of the equinoxes and solstices is also crucial in developing dependable calendars, another thing the Mayans and their predecessors clearly had perfected. The Mayan calendar is most famous for ending exactly at 11:11 UTC (  )on the 2012 December solstice.

 

 

 

Briefly Noted…

Gringo-ld being unloaded

photo (3) THE PRICE OF LIMES has shot up like a Saturn rocket in the last weeks going for 50 pesos a kilo at the local Chedraui and as high as 70 pesos per kilo in Cozumel and Cancun, and even 80 pesos in some parts of the country. Those prices are compared to the traditionally low price of limes that in November, for example, were selling for only 6 pesos per kilo. It was reported in some parts of the country that trucks carrying limes were being hijacked and some delivered by armored car (Photo at left). Mexico is the world’s largest lime producer…A CANADIAN COUPLE’S Feb. 9 murder in the western state of Jalisco has yielded a suspect who has been placed under arrest and charged with committing the double murder of Canadian writer Lida Discombe Marian, 72, and her partner, Edward Kular, 84, at the writer’s home in Ajijic on Lake Chapala. The motive was robbery while the suspect was high on drugs and alcohol…A GROUP OF MEXICAN SENATORS wants to follow the U.S. states that have approved medical marijuana use…MUNICIPAL AUTHORITIES in Playa del Carmen say they hope to complete all the roadwork and other construction projects in the tourist area by Easter when a nearly 100 percent hotel occupancy is expected…

 

MORE GERMAN TOURISTS are expected beginning in November when six flights are added to the schedule of that country. It is expected to increase tourism by 10 percent in the Riviera Maya…TWO ATM MACHINES installed on the edge of Playa del Carmen sidewalks have been broken into in the last month and large sums of money taken…

UNCORROBORATED STORY has it that one of four monkeys living here last year died from a broken neck as the result of a fall somewhere along the golf course perimeter. And now there are three being seen around town, sometimes in an irritated mood – just like humans… LARGE AMOUNTS OF SEA KELP are being deposited on Playa del Carmen beaches to the point that hotel officials have invited environmental officials to have breakfast at a waterfront restaurant to get a whiff of the odor that is keeping tourists away. The Puerto Aventuras dolphin pools aren’t the only aquatic systems being affected by natural phenomena this year. Problem is, what to do about it…MEXICO’S Inbursa bank, controlled by Carlos Slim and the country’s sixth largest commercial bank by assets, aims to buy the Brazilian unit of South Africa’s Standard Bank Group for $45 million…PEMEX is beefing up security of the company’s installations and assets…TWO PEOPLE were caught in a rip tide off Mamitas Beach over the weekend but were rescued by lifeguards. (See last week’s edition on how to NOT drown in a rip tide.)…TWO U.S. CONGRESSMEN from states bordering Mexico will file a bill next week seeking greater oversight of the border patrol…MEXICO’S TOP CRIME FIGHTER, Manuel Mondragon, will resign after a little over  year in office. He was appointed by President Enrique Pena Nieto who vowed a new approach to fighting crime. Nonetheless, the nation’s homicide rate has remained nearly the same with 21,000 homicides during the 14 months of Nieto’s administration, just 206 less than former President Calderon’s first 14 months in office…   

 

 

 

The Mail Bag…

Dear Editor:
Continue to remind people to watch their valuables. My black passport case with passport, drivers license, lots of cash, debit card and other I.D. were stolen from my golf cart. It was parked in front of Latitude 20. In just a few minutes, it was gone!

Signed/J. Radell

Dear Editor:
The Pelican Free Press appears to be a great paper for locals and ex-pats to communicate. I think whatever we can do to make our time here as pleasant as possible will be a win for all. I have a story that requires some guidance. My son flew in to visit me and I would have hoped this would be more of a tradition. He was in typical sleep-deprived mode as many travelers are coming through customs.

He had been asleep on the plane and missed the forms he needed to fill out. He is a smoker and had purchased a duty-free carton of cigarettes and had 1.5 packs making the total 11 1/2 packs. When he was filling out his form in customs he asked what the limit was. The agents response was to ask for my son’s passport to hold it hostage. Then he asked to look through his bags.

Upon finding the cigarettes he levied a “tax” that apparently is a new law for 2014. If there were taxes before they have increased . A lady ahead of him was being told to pay $400 and she was in tears and begging to just throw away the 4 cartons that she had. The customs agent refused her request. My son went through the drill thinking that he may have to pay on the pack and a half.

There was confusion in the word for pack of cigarette. My son used the word paquet and clarified his use of the words. He paid 84.00 US . The printed “receipt that he got said the IVA% was 583 and change that is used to calculate the tax. Just for the record this appeared for all intents and purposes to be a very intentional ploy to extract gringo money.

The story goes on and is not over and I think this kind of thing should be scrutinized. I have a place here and my son now refuses to come back to Mexico. He did spend 4 more hours in the airport trying to find a supervisor to complain. He will pursue his end of further complaint after he leaves. I will also write a letter directed to appropriate places but if there is any specific place that your readers might suggest, it would be appreciated.

Signed/ Kv Smith

 

Word a Week…

alegría, noun – happiness, joy

Alegría is a great quality to have, and is the noun deriving from the adjective alegre , happy, which you probably already know.

Es un motivo grande de alegría.
It’s a great cause for happiness.


Church Services… Please click Colonos icon on right top of page.

AA and Alanon meetings…
AA
and ALANON meetings are held at the public library at the Colegio as follows:
AA Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m; Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. ALANON meeting is held Mondays at 5:30 p.m., also at the library. Meetings are “open” and non-members are welcomed to attend.

End this post clip_image001Previous post below

 

Algae: A universal burden

 

 

REMINDERS:

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME was on Sunday, March 9, in the U.S. but doesn’t occur in the Yucatan until Sunday, April 6, when we spring forward one hour. This puts us two hours behind the U.S. eastern time zone until April 6. Tune in for 6:30 Eastern Time news at 4:30 until then.
FOOD FEST participants sought by Colonos for March 30 event. Sign up at the Colonos office!! 
VILLA CHOICES
for families, friends. Click on Akumal Villas at left for a family vacation.
SALSA DANCE LESSONS, Wednesdays, 10 a.m., Latitude 20 Restaurants. All welcome. Have fun! Just 30 pesos per hour lesson.
IF THE RAINS leaked on your property, click on Definitive Solutions for help.
LIBRARY HOURS   Mon-Fri from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. More than 15,000 English and Spanish books to choose from.
ENTERTAINMENT NIGHTLY at Latitude 20 Restaurant
RESERVE NOW for summer car storage at Riviera Maya vehicle and boat storage. Click the logo at left.
REMEMBER Puerto Aventuras Catering for small house parties or large weddings
ALL THE POOL supplies you need. Click on WeRWater logo for list of products that work.
ITEMS FOR SALE– 26” woman’s bike, $50; hot/cold water dispenser, $150; safe, $75; TV stand, $100 all USD. Call Rick: 984-140-0470.

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Topic of conversation

Public expresses concerns as algae

flourishes in Centro’s natural  pools

But it’s just the early arrival of a cyclical event

  

By Staff
   After Rob Vanbiez arrived in Puerto Aventuras for a vacation a few weeks ago, he went for a walk with friends along the Centro dolphin pools. That’s when he saw the algae floating in the corner of one of the pools ironically situated just across from WeRWater, a water purification and pool maintenance outlet.  And that’s when he wondered why an algae curse was occurring in “the most beautiful place in the world.”

Don’t confuse Vanbiez’s sincere concern with idle criticism. He spent 40 years as the Superintendent of Aquatics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, assuring that water in the city’s pools and other aquatic resources remained clean. He knows water, and he knows that algae blooms, for whatever myriad reason, are a universal phenomena happening everywhere and anywhere.

Guillermo Lobo, or William Wolf in English, is the general manager of Dolphin Discovery, the company that operates the crowd-pleasing dolphin shows in those pools. As such, the purity and condition of the water is of the utmost importance for the health of the workers, the dolphins, the tourists who swim with them and ultimately the success of the business.

No argument here
  While Mr. Vanbiez said he thought the blooms could be be the result of an excessive rainy season immediately followed by a rush of early tropical heat, a more common cause, he said, is “still water” – or water lacking the oxygen replenishment and cleansing effect of natural tidal movement. “As far as I know,” he said, “these dolphin pools lack tidal flow,” depriving the pools of natural flushing and oxygenation.

Sr. Lobo, who said he appreciates the public’s concern, notes that Mr. Vanbiez’s  observations are not without merit. But he does make it clear that there is tidal flow from several underground (cenote) fresh-water rivers and tidal movement coming in from the salty sea along the marina canals and into the pools. Unfortunately, the confluence of fresh and salt water – brackish water – provides an ideal environmental element for algae formation, Lobo explained. The other required ingredient that accommodates algae propagation is warm water.

And that’s what happened this year, a period of brutal weather anomalies. While the northern part of the continent was gripped by record-breaking cold, storms, ice and snowfall, the water flowing into the pools here was warmer than usual, creating the ideal environment for algae formation that normally occurs only after most vacationers and snowbirds are gone. Residents who live along the dolphin walk attest to the annual appearance and disappearance of blooms.

Other public observations
   Andy and Cathy Miznuik, who have been staying here four months a year for the last five years, told the Pelican they’ve heard tales that the rivers running into the pools were blocked off when the overpass was built on 307. They also heard stories, they said, that the waste water purification system was dumping partially-treated waste into the bay near local beaches. He said algae–like weed has to be raked off the beach daily near his condo complex on Fatima Bay.

“We travel to many area beaches, and this is the only one with this problem,” Mr. Miznuik claims. There has been no official evidence presented to corroborate the hearsay. Nor was any weed congestion noticed along the beach during mid-morning tour last week.

      Theirs are not the only observations brought to the attention of the Pelican Free Press. Retailers, restaurateurs and some strollers have complained about intermittently foul odors emanating from the increasingly murky pools to the point, some say, that dolphins have been moved out of some pools where the algae is considerable. Yes, dolphins are temporarily re-assigned, but that’s only to allow work crews to remove the floating algae, Sr. Lobo explained. On the other hand, Pelican staff has observed algae formations in small cenotes along the golf course where water lilies flourished earlier in the season.

While Vanbiez said he hasn’t noticed the algae in other nearby bodies of water such as the canals, a long-time resident in a Centro unit above the pool who did not want to be identified, said she also has seen algae blooms along the bay shore during her daily walks.

John Schwandke, who also lives in a Centro unit, said: “I have been told that there are several points along the Centro Comercial side of the marina where underground rivers flow in and help create an outward flow toward the sea by way of the entrance canal. Two of those points are adjacent to what used to be

Tiramisu Restaurant and may have contributed to the sidewalk caving in at that point a couple of years ago.  You can actually look into a small cenote next to Massimo’s, and chances are there is an inflow there too.  It seems to me that I used to see evidence of inflow coming from under the sunken walkway near Café Ole, but I don’t see those ripples anymore.”

Tidal flow could be better

Commenting on the public observations on tidal flow, Sr. Lobo said the flow could be better and that it would probably help reduce the amount of algae generated every year. However, it would not eliminate what is essentially a natural phenomenon controlled by Mother nature, just as the snowfall and assorted storms pummeled northern neighbors with impunity this year.

He said the company currently has a crew working 15-hour days vacuuming the bottom of the pools and is awaiting arrival of a more powerful pump to both clean the pool bottoms faster and also skim the floating algae off the top. In addition, the company operates two waterfalls located on the island that help aerate the water to supplement the natural introduction of oxygen into that aquatic system from the rivers and sea, Sr. Lobo said.

The company is also putting an unwanted product to good use. A three-man crew – they can be spotted from the dolphin walk – consists of a scuba diver and two handlers.One of them works the pump and dive lines tethered to the diver who is equipped with a vacuum cleaner type instrument that vacuums algae from the pool bottom. The other handler aims a large hose ashore over a rectangular basket that lets the water through but captures the algae that is then spread as mulch on the island gardens.

Dolphins don’t lack oxygen   

   For the uninitiated concerned for the dolphins, we are reminded that unlike fish that extract oxygen from water through gills, dolphins breathe the same air humans do, above water, through a unique blowhole atop the head. In other words, and as far as dolphins are concerned, de-oxygenated water is not a threat to their ability to intake oxygen, albeit some algae blooms could be toxic and cause other negative physical issues to these playful mammals.   

For the record,  harmful algae blooms, or HABS, can stem from a natural occurrence of aquatic and or atmospheric dysfunction abetted by the run-off of human activity, that is, toxic chemicals and various harmful nutrients used or produced by cities and farms that find their way to water. The run-off feeds the lower plant life, or algae, which then multiplies and depletes an aquatic system of oxygen, the lack of which then kills off fish and higher forms of plant life. This creates a dead aquatic system. The dolphin pools are a long way off from dead, Sr. Lobo said. As in every year, the pools require maintenance that, due to Nature’s whim, is required earlier this year.

Beyond a chemical fix

Mr. Vanbiez opines the bloom in the dolphin pools is beyond a simple chemical fix. “The underwater mesh fences need to be steam-cleaned to improve tidal movement,” he said. The pools can be aerated by fountains, which is what the waterfalls do in the pools here, or mechanically aerated.

The local WeRWater Co., situated on the Dolphin Walk just above the pools, has donated a trial amount of a bio-degradation accelerator that treats wastewater and controls odor with a blend of naturally occurring bacteria and fungi. The Dolphin Discovery veterinarian will be testing its effectiveness in reducing the algae presence at a much quicker pace and potential side effects, if any, on the dolphins or the pool system.”  The Product, known as BDM-50, accelerates the breakdown of organic material such as algae. 

Given Sr. Lobo’s logical explanation and seeing the evidence of ongoing maintenance, Shakespeare might characterize the public concern as appreciated but, alas, much ado about nothing. Nonetheless, it leaves the ultimate question unanswered: Is it possible, affordable and practical to prevent the formation of natural dolphin-pool algae in the first place?

 

Get a living plant for a dead can,
bottle, cardboard or plastics

   The Colonos office reports that the Municipality of Solidaridad invites residents to participate in the municipal program “Kilo Verde” that will take place Saturday, March 15, at the municipal office located at the end of the Main Road in Puerto Aventuras village near the poblado park. The exchange begins at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In this program, you can trade solid material for regional plants. The solid material that you can exchange is glass bottles, plastic bottles, cans, cardboard, electrical appliance, paper and tetra pak. 

 

Meet Red Cross Dr. Branda Gutierrez;

you may require her skills some day

  

By Staff
   Dr. Branda Gutierrez is the new Red Cross doctor who has recently begun a one-year community service assignment at the Red Cross clinic and ambulance station on the Main Road in the Poblado, where the police station used to be prior to moving to larger quarters in Puerto Maya next door.

As the new resident medical professional, she is in charge of the Red Cross branch in the Poblado that services all residents of Greater Puerto Aventuras, including   those within the resort area. Dr. Gutierrez is married and splits her time living weekends in Cancun with her husband, a doctor there, and weekdays at the Red Cross clinic here.The clinic is covered 24/7 on weekends by interns from the central Red Cross station in Playa del Carmen.

After a month here, she said during an interview Monday, she is acclimating to the routine and enjoying meeting the people who she will service for the year. “The people here are very nice,” she said, “ and I don’t mean just the Mexicans.” Although she isn’t fluent in English, she is bi-lingual “un poco” and would like to take English lessons. “But it is expensive and I can’t afford it now,” she said. “Maybe when I get a real job,” she quipped with a smile.

Dr. Gutierrez graduated from the Instituto Polytecnico Nationale in Mexico City as a general practitioner and is considering several specialty areas to pursue following her community service. “I like to meet people. I try to understand their language and their culture and help patients from any country.” The clinic door is open to all, she said.

Below is some emergency ambulance information and basic Spanish interpretations resort residents might want to copy and post on their refrigerator, courtesy of Paamul Jack and others:

AMBULANCE PHONE NUMBERS:
­­

Cruz Roja (Red Cross) – 065

Cruz Roja will take the patient to whatever hospital you request, or to the nearest facility if the situation requires.

Hospiten – 984/ 806-4616   or   984/ 876-2250

These numbers connect to a private ambulance service which is under contract to Hospiten.  They will take the patient to Hospiten.

CostaMed  -  984/ 803-7777

This ambulance will take the patient to CostaMed.

GET EMERGENCY HELP IN SPANISH

Send an ambulance please
Por favor mande una ambulancia.
My name is
Mi nombre es……
My address is
Mi domicilio es …….
My phone number is…
Mi numero de telefono es….
I am very sick
Estoy muy enfermo
My wife/husband had a heart attack
Mi esposa tuvo un ataque cardiac
I am hurt
estoy herido!

(Suggestion: Place this by your phone. Click on Colonos logo at right for other emergency numbers.)

 

Jewelry store robbery by gang

thwarted on Playa’s 5th Avenue

By Staff from news reports
   Nine would be armed robbers were captured by the local police during an evening armed heist of Diamonds International on Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue at Juarez and 2d St. North. The police reported recovering 25 top brand watches, three handguns and other criminal paraphernalia used to break showcase glass. Enforcement officials here said a robbery of the company’s Cancun store took place simultaneously and had the mark of Federal District gangs.

Some of the detainees evidently told police they were hired just a week ago by gang bosses in the Federal District (Mexico City area) including one named “Possum”. They said they were flown to Cancun on Wednesday then took taxis to the ADO bus terminal in Playa del Carmen. They were given money to stay at a hotel near the terminal, then taken to a house in Playacar to prepare for the heist.

Officials are saying this could be the work of a Federal District criminal organization with a similar modus operandi. The estimated amount of goods stolen was not reported by investigators and no one was injured. 
  
 

Monkey see, Monkey do, Monkey go…ing

By Staff
   There are a multitude of daily walkers here in Puerto Aventuras who love to deeply inhale the fresh morning breeze off the Caribbean and feel the rising sun warm their bones like breakfast oatmeal. The other thing they enjoy while strolling is glancing up into the lush carpet of trees for a lucky-day glimpse of the ever-moving spider monkey, or, as known in Espanol, “ el mono.”

Sightings aren’t rare, but they are infrequent to the same people given the monkeys’ penchant for following the scientific notion that a body in motion stays in motion. And for the spider monkey, that can spell doomsday.Just as the hurricanes of the mid-2000s chased the spiders away from the resort for a multi-year hiatus, we are now learning that poaching, road kill and the progress of mankind bulldozing the wild environment has decimated the spider monkey population to the point of near extinction along the Maya Riviera.

That’s according to Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin of Crococun Interactive Park in Puerto Morelos. He reports that in the northern sections of the peninsula the spider population is down to only around 100. We understand from sightings here in PA that where there were four in a local family swinging in the trees last year, the latest multiple sighting being three monkeys. Where is the other guy?

A researcher at a botanical garden of 65 hectares of forest reports only 50 spiders there while the population at Crococun is only 25. The spider monkey has a special morphology (the form and structure of an organism) that allows it to move rather gracefully and harrowingly among the treetops using its tail as a fifth hand. Each year snowbirds arrive and ask, where are the monkeys? It isn’t until someone spots one or more monkeys frolicking here that the the people of Puerto Aventuras  feel that all is well with the world. 🙂 They take photos and send them to the Pelican, a fish eating bird…but that’s another story.

Well, bird watcher Gayle Sandholm caught a couple out on a limb and Kelly Quinlan got shots of three of them frolicking on somebody’s veranda along Bahia Kantenha in the last few weeks, indicating that PA still has at least one resident spider family in motion.  

 

In case you want to know…

…What touri$t$ leave behind

   More than 10.4 million visitors to national parks in Massachusetts, USA, spent $503.2 million and supported nearly 6,500 jobs in the state in 2012, according to a new report.  The Cape Cod National Seashore contributed the lion’s share of the economic boost. In 2012, the National Seashore attracted 4.4 million visitors, who spent $179 million and supported 2,170 jobs. “This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy — returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service…," said Mike Caldwell, NPS northeast regional director. This gives readers an idea what tourism does for the Riviera Maya.

 

Briefly Noted…

Compiled from staff, contributor and news reports

WORKERS FOR CFE (Federal Electric Co.) continue to be seen fiddling with the lights along 307 between Puerto Aventuras and Playa del Carmen. They were nearing Punta Venada last week, meaning, hopefully, that CFE will again light the way between the two communities for safer driving after a long period of darkness…MEXICO CITY’S CHAPULTEPEC  ZOO has recorded the first hippo birth in captivity in 16 years while the city’s Metropolitan Cathedral completed a restoration of its centuries old twin organs damaged by fire in1967…STAPLES, a staple retailer in office supplies, is closing 225 stores in the U.S. because of increasing online sales…LET THE POLITICS BEGIN – There’s a flap going on over the route of the proposed transpeninsular train. Cancun is trying to hijack the route so that its terminus is in Cancun and not, as previously announced, at Punta Venada (Calica) on the Riviera Maya and real close to Puerto Aventuras…IF YOU WONDER why high school students in PA staged a sit-in for more classrooms a few weeks ago consider this: Enrollment in U.S. colleges of female Hispanics (Latinas) increased 24 percent from `1994 to 2012. Smart moves…MEXICANS can now call for national referenda on issues of “national importance.” Petitions can originate with the President, one-third of the members of either house, or 2 percent of the voters…JUST PLANE BUSTED – Mexican marines in Sinaloa raided a farm and confiscated six small planes, some weapons and vehicles and detained three armed individuals in a drug raid…U.S., MEXICO AND GUATEMALA form Trinational Security Desk to coordinate battle against drug, human, arms trafficking and other crimes at their borders…  

 

The Mail Bag…

Enforce golf cart rules

Dear Editor:
   I would like to express my concerns about Golf Carts in PA and to see if your readers have concerns about this subject. I feel that all Golf Carts should have forward and back lights in order to see them in the dark. My husband and I have had too many close calls of almost hitting one or two. Also, any child under 16 should have an adult with them when driving a golf cart. The recklessness of these young drivers needs to stop. We have reported this issue to Security/Colonos but nothing has been done.

Signed/Kim Crews

(Ed. Note: The Colonos reports it is monitoring the above golf-cart infractions and issuing warnings followed by cancellation of a family’s main gate access cards for various periods depending on the number of infractions. The municipality requires a driver’s license, available to youth 16 and over, and night lights to operate golf carts.)

Watch your wallet

Dear Editor:
   I am a year round resident here at PA and live on Puerto Aventuras Boulevard. On Thursday, March 6, around 10:30 p.m. at the "Pub", my wallet was stolen. So as you reported before, pick-pockets are in the area. I immediately called my bank and as of the time of my call was not held accountable for any charge to my HSBC debit card if the thief tried to use it. But due to the late hour, it would be almost impossible. They did get cash. Anyway, I prefer not to use my name, but just felt people should – as you have warned in the past – be careful here at the many restaurants and bars. The thieves are here working the crowds. As it was Karaoke Night you can imagine how many people were there. Thanks for your time and thanks for the information you provide along with stories.
(Ed. Note: The Pelican does not use names of victims as a matter of policy although the name of the author was provided. Additionally, the press reports a wave of burglaries at homes of the wealthy in Playacar. Victims have included the father of a state cabinet member, a former state official and at least three foreign residents.)

Phrase a Week…
“Please change the light bulbs.” In Spanish, you could say  “Por favor, cambia los focos.” 

Church Services… Please click Colonos icon on right top of page.

AA and Alanon meetings…
AA
and ALANON meetings are held at the public library at the Colegio as follows:
AA Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m; Thursdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at noon. ALANON meeting is held Mondays at 5:30 p.m., also at the library. Meetings are “open” and non-members are welcomed to attend.

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Pelican Free Press Newsletter

For emergency phone numbers, church services, “resident” and “gate” card forms and processes; rules for golf carts and motorcycles, pets, construction by-laws, recycling schedule and other pertinent community information and services, please click on the Puerto Aventuras Colonos icon below. Thank you

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