HOLIDAYS: Palm Sunday is this Sunday, April 13; Passover is Monday, April 14; Good Friday, April 18; Easter, April 20
AKUMAL COMEDY CLUB Festival returns April 29-May 3. See story below for schedule.
WIDE SMILE – Visit our local dentist before heading north. Click on the Smile logo
VILLAS AKALAN to rent close to the Riviera Maya’s prime beach at Tulum.
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 PA’s Latitude 20 Restaurant: Salsa band playing Saturday nights
RESERVE NOW for summer car storage at Riviera Maya vehicle and boat storage. Click the logo at left.
FISHING SEASON HERE: Click on Capt. Rick’s for sportfishing adventure
REMEMBER Puerto Aventuras Catering for small house parties or large weddings. Click logo at left.
BIKE WANTED TO BUY, men’s. 984-802-8705
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‘State of the Town’-Part 3
Desalination plant here will bring
savings, tap water you can drink
PA plant will operate something like this
Prologue: Courtesy of:
The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination facility (diagram below) is a drought-proof, alternative water supply that provides up to 25 million gallons per day of drinking water to the region.Seawater coming into the plant goes through a rigorous pretreatment process then freshwater is separated from the seawater using reverse osmosis. The end product is high-quality drinking water that supplies up to 10 percent of the region’s needs.
The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant uses a process called reverse osmosis (RO) to produce drinking water from seawater. The desalination plant is located next to Tampa Electric’s (TECO) Big Bend Power Station, which already withdraws and discharges up to 1.4 billion gallons a day of seawater from Tampa Bay, using it as cooling water for the power plant. The Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination plant “catches” up to 44 million gallons per day (mgd) of that warm seawater, separates it into drinking water and concentrated seawater and dilutes the twice-as-salty seawater before returning it to the bay.
Cool, clear tap water is PA’s goal
It’s been said that millions have lived without love, but not one without water. It’s testimony to the fact that the human body collapses if deprived of water for an average of three days, albeit a few have survived 10 days. But don’t try that at home.
It underscores a notion that water is infinitely more necessary to the human condition than wealth. That being the case, the cost of water should be secondary to its life-sustaining availability and potability.
In Puerto Aventuras, the cost of water has increased recently in some segments, particularly in condominiums, causing owners and administrators to allege unfair pricing despite the evolutionary process under way to improve the local water treatment and delivery system at no further cost to consumers.
Condo owners and administrators saw a unilateral hike in “usage” rates by the concessionaire as unfair since it applied only to condo complexes with one water meter whose usage previously was divided by the number of units in the complex. That kept the “consumption” rates low per unit. By eliminating the division, the “consumption” rate climbed to the top price tier, thus becoming more expensive. Some administrators said at assemblies they would battle the move, but if they are, they are keeping their strategy to themselves.
As of this writing, residents may be noticing holes along some of the major community roadways, some surrounded by workers doing a job. And that job is, said developer Roman Rivera Torres during an interview last week, the preparation for morphing the current water system to one of “reverse osmosis,” or RO, generally used for desalination, which is the direction in which the PA water system is going.
Saltwater wells 21 meters deep (68.8 feet) that have already been established next to the cultural center “will draw salt water to avoid payments to the government,” for usage of underground fresh water, Rivera said. The RO system, will be located at the “actual treatment plant along with new tanks and reverse osmosis system. It will all be in the area assigned between the cultural center and the new nine holes of golf and should be ready in the middle of 2016,” he said.
Neutralizing Montezuma’s Revenge
The RO process of water treatment, even in Mexico, neutralizes the colloquial and somewhat jocular Montezuma’s Revenge ( a/k/a travelers’ diarrhea, or TD) by removing, along with salt, aquatic impurities and pathogens, thus rendering the water drinkable from the tap, or, as Rivera quips, “drinking the water in the shower if you’re too lazy to go to the kitchen.”
Here is what else happens when the new system is fully operational: It will eliminate, if one so chooses, the need for potable bottled water and its costs; it will increase water pressure of the current three “atmospheres” to seven atmospheres for more constant, more powerful pressure; it will eliminate the need for cisterns and will soften water so that pipes, faucet filters, hot water heaters and shower heads no longer need to be intermittently purged of calcification by hand or solvents.
The concessionaire, that is, the ownership of the water system here now, has entered into a joint venture with a Finnish company represented in this area by En-Su-Hogar S.A. de C.V., to install the reverse osmosis system, then operate the water and sewerage infrastructure for which residents will continue to receive one bill for both services, Rivera said. While home and condo owners need do nothing, Rivera said it will take some time to flush out existing piping to accept the clean, new water source. That process will begin with pipe-clearing machinery that will clear the delivery system from homes and condos outward.
Nature Under Pressure
Reverse osmosis is the process of forcing contaminated, salty or impure water containing unwanted elements through a filter with holes so tiny that only the water vapor can pass, thus excluding all sorts of impurities, which is why it is called “purifying” water. Some Third World countries even recycle wastewater with RO to assure a sustainable, life-saving supply of potable water.
It is a relatively modern process having emerged in Coalinga, Calif., in 1965 as a desalination plant, one of the major uses of reverse osmosis. A big improvement was the manufacture of hand-cast membranes out of cellular acetate, a polymer used in photographic film. These membranes allow large amounts of water to move faster and with more pressure through the membranes, thus removing impurities faster, better and yielding a higher grade of purity.
While the process is not without some problems – small fish being trapped, for example, in desalination plants – and the requirement for frequent cleaning of membranes, RO desalination is used in more than 100 countries while military operations of Western powers use portable plants on many occasions to provide potable water to troops.
More than good roads, dependable power and efficient security – hallmarks of Puerto Aventuras – desalinated, potable water is a sustainable, positive improvement. Assuring its availability and dependability via modernization over the long haul is said to be a worthy investment that has already begun here.
The question of fairness in pricing may still be heard in the shadow of progress, but criticism is but one pitfall that targets the movers and shakers of the world, as U.S. President Lyndon Johnson so aptly described: “If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.’”
Golf course: The fair way
Site preparation is under way for the golf course extension, but, Rivera notes, it is not a priority project for obvious reasons. “The golf course is not a money maker. I lose money every month,” he said, but has no intention of reneging on the promise to keep the course alive and expanded to 18 holes. That project has a lesser place in the grand scheme, with Phase 4 and water currently getting the attention.
Nonetheless, Rivera said there are plans afoot to embellish the clubhouse with a cafeteria and bar and to expand the “little lakes” that dot the course. Currently, he said, some of the dredge from the canal work is being recycled into leveling the extended fairways to begin the process. The expanded course was designed by the late course architect and PGA legend Tom Lehman.
As to the long-standing buzz about a pending deal to share the course with the neighboring Barcelo Resort in some fashion, Rivera said to date there is no deal. If ever there is one, he said, local residents are protected and so are the fees. “If it happens, it happens. If not, I’m going ahead with the expansion anyway,” he said.
Let there be light
There are 180 street lights going up alongside the 4.3 kilometers of roads in Phase 4 and 70 shorter lights along the same amount of walkways. There will be one street light, each 4.5 meters high (15 feet), for every house lot, that is, every 15 meters (49 feet) which is the average lot frontage. The sidewalk lights are just about knee-high to a tall guy, giving off ambient light with LED, or Light Emitting Diode bulbs.
(Next Week: When does Phase 4 integrate with the Colonos)
Aquanauts Dive Shop family
logs 5th year of quality service
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. So the Aquanauts Dive Shop of Puerto Aventuras has adopted a sure way of letting divers preserve their breath for diving, yet reveal to their family and friends back home, and in more exciting detail than ever, exactly what their Aquanaut adventures were like.
Aquanaut Dive Shop owners Jim, his wife, Myrna, and their son Nick are in their fifth year as owners of Aquanauts Dive Shop, which has recently become a dealer for one of the newer diving accessories clients can use to capture and share in vivid color the experiences of exploring cenote caverns and extensive reefs without having to say a word.
This accessory is the tiny GoPro video and still camera that divers can attach to their head-gear or wrist, for example, to video everything they are seeing and perhaps more in some cases that the human eye misses. No need for excuses about the one that got away or trying to explain the astounding diversity of reef species and their vivid colors. Aquanauts will soon be offering lessons on handling the GoPro, which is used to capture many sports adventures on land, air and sea.
All that’s left is getting to the revealing underwater scenarios, and that’s where the Aquanauts Dive Shop excels in matters of diverse venues, safety, training and consideration for the level of a diver’s experience.
Aquanauts is a PADI 5-star Dive Center located in the unique gated community of Puerto Aventuras that ex-pats and snowbirds from all over the world call home in the wintertime. It has its own security, concrete-stamped roadways for easy travel, more than a dozen restaurants, all-inclusive resort hotels, villas, condos, a school, retailers, golf, tennis, marina and modern infrastructure.
It also has the Aquanauts Dive Shop in the center of activities on the marina and dolphin pools where diving beginners can receive training while the advanced diver can choose to explore the extensive off-shore reefs – part of the 500-mile Meso-American Barrier Reef – teeming with sea life and exotic canyons waiting to be explored. Get there in the safety and comfort of the Aquanauts dive boat. Venture into the mysteries of cenotes and caverns…and do it all with the utmost attention to safety.
Paul Robock of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, an engineer who spent a lot of time in Japan,is an annual long-term vacationer at Quinta Luna in Puerto Aventuras and an avid diver.
“I’ve been diving with the Aquanauts since 2004. They have a good dive boat that’s moored within walking distance of their shop,” Robock said. ”They have a solid selection of dive gear and adequate rental equipment.
‘The owner is customer friendly and the crew there had many laughs at my expense when my Rolex broke loose and went missing on Paradiso reef.” (That incident was reported in Pelican Free Press story when the watch was recovered years later by another diver.)
“I think the family and crew spent a year hoping in vain to find it. That led to my infamous nickname, ‘Pauly Rolex’ I must mention the boat crew which is most helpful when you are getting ready to dive and most importantly when you surface and are struggling to get back in the boat.
“They take you to some of the best dive sites along the coast,” Robock said. “Beginners can dive on Castillo reef which is relatively shallow (60 ft.). More experienced divers can try Paradiso at 120 ft. or dive on a wreck located near Punta Venado. The old wreck of the Pelicano is also interesting at about 150 ft. Cave diving is also featured with interesting cenote dives at Dos Ojos and other locations. I would recommend this dive shop to anyone visiting PA or Playa.”
Divers looking for new adventures and wanna-be divers and snorkelers can get some really comprehensive information about training and diving the plentiful reefs along the Mayan Riviera or the multitude of cenotes and caverns by clicking on the Aquanauts Dive Shop logo at left. Then, sit back and enjoy the photos and specific information on everything from various training programs, the Aquanauts boat and crew, maps, prices, rental gear and contact information.
Here’s how to contact Aquanauts Dive Shop: From the United States or Canada, can call toll free at 877-623-2491; From within Mexico, call 984-873-5041; From anywhere else, call 011-52-984-873-5041. Reach us by e-mail at email@example.com .
LAWYER SOLOMON FREIMUTH who spoke on immigration issues in PA on several occasions and became a partner in a newspaper (English-language) venture in Playa del Carmen, has reportedly accepted a position with a railroad company in Texas and has already left Mexico. The Playa Times newspaper did not answer a request for corroboration…HIGH WINDS and rough surf prevented many tourist outings like fishing and diving in the last several days, dampening income… REVERSING THE VAT – There is a move afoot by businessmen and politicians to reverse the 16 percent value added tax in the Yucatan border states that were exempted from the national levy and charged 11 percent to help the tourist/service industries. Now, businessmen say that 789 foreign-owned hotels out of 929 in Quintana Roo are exempt and enjoy tax and borrowing advantages that take unfair advantage of locally owned businesses. The move afoot would reduce the VAT back to 11 percent for a more level playing field, they say… COFEPRIS, the Federal Commission for Protection Against Health Risks, has warned water purification plants in Playa del Carmen to assure the quality of their water or face heavy fines as consumption increases during the hot season…TAXI FARE GOUGERS are warned by their own union that fares in Playa should not exceed 40 pesos for local service and that the base Centro fare is 21 pesos…SERVICE PROVIDERS IN TULUM are calling for more and better signage to help tourists navigate the narrow but scenic coastal road…PA BUSINESSWOMAN Donna Carey was published in Cancun’s Blue Life travel magazine’s spring issue. She wrote about a trip to Bali…
Entertaining in the waning season
The April exodus of snowbirds coupled with short notices dampened the turnout for last weekend’s events here including what was arguably the best and season-ending concert by the “Flamenco Fusion” band on Friday night (above photo) and also the arts and crafts fair at Latitude 20 Restaurant (photo below) on Saturday afternoon.
Some residents said they weren’t aware of the concert and its popular performers here while those who did attend, such as the Kevin Conlon family (upper photo right) were treated to some exciting music and dancing by highly skilled entertainers and musicians. (Conlon’s Chicago firm deals with public strategies and is on U.S. President Barack Obama’s fund-raising team).
The Latitude 20 arts and crafts fair fell short of participating artists and craftsmen as some of the usual participants were away on a trip to Thailand and droves of snowbirds who usually attend these events had already departed or were busy preparing to do so. Judging from comments heard at both events, it would appear that events would fare better with more advanced notice by promoters and scheduling popular events during the high season between January and March after snowbirds arrive and before they leave. (Below, artist Carlos Basto displays his colorful work dubbed “Just Arrived.”)
Links to Comedy Festival information published
Akumal’s Marieke Brown sends the following links for residents interested in the performance schedule of this years Comedy Festival April 29-May 3,
Here is the schedule: http://www.akumalcomedyfestival.com/schedule
“We have shows in Akumal on the Plaza Ukana (Grateful Dead) Stage next to Turtle Bay Bakery. There is live music from 7-8pm and then comedy from 8-9pm. The show on Saturday May 3 is in Spanish, so if you prefer English speaking comedy, then Thursday and Friday would be good days. You can buy advanced tickets for the shows here http://www.akumalcomedyfestival.com/donate and the ticket is actually good for both shows on your chosen day. The second show of the day is at La Buena Vida Bar on half Moon Bay at 10pm. 100% of the proceeds goes to the Red Cross. On the Thursday May 1 early show we have Tim Harmston headlining who is awesome! You can check out his work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_f4KKFtdz9k
Residents invited to meet author at library
Library volunteer Linda Gosslin writes: “The public is invited to meet author Elle Cosimano on Wednesday, April 23, 2014, at the Puerto Aventuras Library, 5:30 – 7:00 PM. Snacks and beverages will be available. There is no admission charge. Bring a friend! Elle is a resident of Paamul and her first book, "Nearly Gone" was released on March 25th. Elle will answer questions about the writing and publishing process, and will present our library with an autographed copy of her book.
Read on for more information:
– "Nearly Gone" Summary: A math whiz from a DC area trailer park discovers she’s the only student capable of unraveling complex clues being left in the personal classifieds by a serial killer who’s systematically getting rid of her classmates.
– Review: "Eloquently written and packed full of suspense, debut author Cosimano strikes gold with this page-turning thriller that will have teens chomping at the bit to get to the end… a captivating murder mystery." — School Library Journal (starred review)
– Author Bio: Elle Cosimano is the daughter of a prison warden and an elementary school teacher who rode a Harley. She majored in Psychology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and set aside a successful real-estate career to pursue writing. She lives with her husband and two young sons, and divides her time between her home near Washington, DC and the Mayan Riviera.
The Mail Bag…
What about the barrier?
I’ve been coming to Puerto since 2005 and love the Pelican Free Press for keeping us informed about our home away from home. I see the updates on all the future construction in Phase 4 but I’m wondering if there is any current info on the progress of the underwater barrier that is meant to restore the beach in Fatima Bay. I watched as more rock barriers were placed in front of the Omni Hotel this winter and wondered if there was any progress on the larger Bay project.
Yeah, what about that?
We enjoyed your update on the latest progress in Phase 4. We have not heard anything for a while on the reclamation of the beach in Fatima Bay. Can you get your loyal readers an update on the plans to bring our beach back?
Signed/ Jerry Stackhouse
(Ed.Note: The money is in hand but the federal permit is not. That’s the latest from the developer. When the work does begin, however, the smaller rocks will be removed and used to fill gaps in the larger, underwater reef. Patience tested, but nothing wasted.)
MEXICAN AIRLINE Mexicana de Aviacion, which suspended operations in 2010, declared in “state of bankruptcy” by the Federal Judicial Council…
WORK CREWS repairing highway lights on 307 have apparently reached the police filter at the Calica turnoff as they work their way toward Puerto Aventuras. Elderly snowbirds have been expressing a fear of driving between PA to Playa at night because of the lack of lighting and weak highway markings…DO-IT-YOURSELF Mexican militias fighting the drug cartel in Michoacan are being disarmed by the Mexican government, which has increased legitimate resources in the state…MEXICO AND PANAMA have signed a new free-trade pact, paving the way for Central America’s entry into the Pacific Alliance trade group…
PRESIDENT PENA NIETO is calling upon banks to increase “responsible lending” to help economic growth…LIME PRICE SUBSIDIZED by the government in poorer local colonies where the fruit is considered a staple…CASES OF DENGUE FEVER in the coastal communities are on the wane, from 376 last year to 148 the first quarter of this year with Solidaridad recording only 15 in Playa del Carmen area while Cancun had 79…ZIG-ZAGGING into a police “filtro” just north of Playa, two people were stopped an arrested after they were found carrying 85 dose-bags of cocaine. One of these arrested is a former policeman…A POLL SHOWS the Mexicans value the Marines first, the Army second and Federal Police third in security matters…HEALTH OFFICIALS are advising precautions against mosquito bites and three of the four serotypes of dengue fever already detected in Q.Roo…TULUM reports that 90 percent of the domestic violence cases there follow consumption of alcoholic beverages…that are piled high in supermarkets…SHOOTOUTS have continued in Tamaulipas over the weekend with 17 suspected cartel gunmen and others killed in various Tampico neighborhoods and other nearby communities. The violence is attributed to a power struggle between rival cartels. Two universities canceled classes on Monday because of the shooting spree…SQUALLS IN PA AND PLAYA were accompanied by winds of 34 mph and rough seas that brought the maritime services industry to a halt on Tuesday, continuing a week of rough seas hampering maritime tourism…
SAY IT IN SPANISH by Gloria Contreras, teacher and certified translator
I have a problem with:
Tengo un problema con: Mi coche – my car; Mi moto – my motorcycle; Mi bicicleta – my bicycle; Mi llanta – my tire; el agua -the wáter; el gas – the propane gas.
(Reach Gloria for lessons or translations at © 984-108-3517)
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.