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EROSION II: Process has name, but no easy fix

OLYMPIC TRIALS for Optimist Class sailboats April 28-30
CONCERT 6 p.m. April 30 at Cultural Center, Bahia Akumal


Returning sand, then keeping it, a puzzler

      The skipper/owner of the MV Dauntless docked here for the last month or so and departing this week, lives much of his life on the water and says he remembers a few things from his college days long ago that might help explain local beach erosion.
Capt. Mads Emanuelsen believes that “ ‘fixing’ the beach is going to be tough.  The moment you mess with the natural flow of currents you alter the transport of sand.  Sand moves along the shore.  As sand in one area is moved, ‘new’ sand from upstream is deposited. At least that is the way it is supposed to work.

“I believe the correct term is ‘long-shore transport’ ” he said. “I studied some of that oceanography stuff in college, but that was a looong time ago.” It is also known as long-shore drift or ‘littoral’ (seashore) drift.
“As you alter the natural shape of a shoreline, the long-shore transport gets altered.  Here in PA the major alteration of currents apparently occurred when the south jetty of the north entrance was extended.
“By extending that jetty it looks like the transport of sand into the lagoon was somehow cut off or the current in the lagoon (Bahia Fatima) altered significantly.  The result appears to be that sand from the Omni is still getting transported south, but not getting replenished.”
        Puerto Aventuras is not alone, Emanuelsen notes. “Beaches in Florida and Texas (and probably many other places) have the same problem, mostly because of jetties built perpendicular to the beaches.
“The solution that they have applied is beach replenishment, sometimes with berms built up to try to retain the sand.  It’s expensive and the results appear to be quite variable.  Of course, they could remove the extension to the jetty here in Puerto Aventuras, but that would result in boats and yachts ending up in the lagoon with some regularity again.  Besides, I don’t think that the Fideicomiso is willing to spend money to remove a structure it paid good money to install. Bottom line is that I don’t think there are any easy answers.”

For the uninitiated, long-shore transport, or drift, is a process by which beach material is shifted laterally in a gradual process when waves meet the shore at an oblique angle. The transport is influenced by a number of natural processes including wind and currents and the swash (liquid hitting a solid) and backwash (backward flow of water as receding breakers from a beach).
Emanuelsen wondered if hydrological studies have been done of the bay and understood. The Colonos does have in its possession at least one proposal that appears to include such a study.
While some informal observers speculate that tidal amplitude has something to do with the existing washout of the Omni Beach here, comparative studies point out that the Caribbean tidal flow is relatively insignificant at about two feet, even spring tides.
In fact, say some observers, it was precisely the low tide amplitude (size range) that allowed, as far as tourists are concerned, vacation facilities to be built so close to the water’s edge. California tides can range to nine feet and the Bay of Fundy to 60 feet by comparison.
Residents here report seeing developer and trustee Roman Rivera Torres peering studiously at the water’s action near the Omni Hotel since one jetty of rocks and netting was installed a few weeks ago. He has said there are plans to regain some of the beach in the short term and plans for the long term that won’t be developed for at least a year. Rivera Torres admits is will take a lot of money to reshape the beach in Fatima Bay and is being careful not to select the wrong solution …TO BE CONTINUED


Concert to close Olympic sailboat trials here

Late-departing snowbirds get a crack at another fine concert scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, April 30, at the popular venue of the Puerto Aventuras Cultural Center on Bahia Akumal.

The Colonos Sports and Cultural Committee presents Juan D’Anyelica and his fusion band featuring flamenco, rumba and jazz supported by food, fun and drinks, wine and beer, that will be for sale. Entrance is 60 pesos, but free for participants of the national Olympic trials Optimist Sailboat races occurring here on the same weekend. Tickets are available at the Colonos office and at Bamboo on the new Marina.
Daniel Gracis, chair of the sports and cultural committee  has landed one of three preliminary “national” championship sail races to be held here April 28,29,30, the results of which, with two other preliminary races held elsewhere, will be used to select a team representing Mexico in international competition.
      “We expect 100 boats will be participating,” Gracis says with gusto as he prepared along with local hotels and businesses for the influx of visitors that come along with the boats…youthful skippers, their parents, their friends and more, “about 500 people” said Gracis, “who need lodging and food and other services.”
And now if they need entertainment, they and all area music lovers will have it at the Cultural Center.


Akumal’s first comedy festival starts thursday

Akumal kicks off its first “free” annual Comedy Festival beginning at 5:30 tonight with events lasting through Saturday. The schedule, which is subject to change:



5.30 p.m., Akumal community children dance performance on “The Grateful Dead Stage” immediately followed by Stand Up! Upcomers Showcase hosted by Phoebe Bottoms with comedy by John Conroy, Dave Johnson, Jeff Pfoser, Erik Allen, Mel Fleming (Merida, MEX) and headliner Bill Young. 7.30pm Akumal community children dance performance on “LOL at Lol-Ha” immediately followed by comedy hosted by Tommy Ryman with guest comic Mitch Hansen, featured comic Erik Allen and headliner Kjell Bjorgen: 10pm “Blue” Show at La Buena Vida hosted by Chris Maddock with comedy by Nate Abshire, Phoebe Bottoms, Corey Adam, Fanck Chevrier (Montreal) and Gabe Noah.
FRIDAY, APRIL 20th: 5.30pm Akumal community children dance performance on “The Grateful Dead Stage” immediately followed by Upcomers Showcase hosted by Nate Abshire with comedy by Jeff Pfoser and others and headliner Tommy Ryman: 7.30pm Akumal community children dance performance on “LOL at Lol-Ha” immediately followed by comedy hosted by Gus Lynch and guest comics: 10 p.m. “Blue” Show at La Buena Vida.
SATURDAY, APRIL 21: Live on the Akumal Cancha – Plaza Ukana;5 p.m. Local community sundown live drumming and instrumental 6.30pm – Live music from Arpason;7.30 – Akumal community children dance performance; 8 p.m. Festival Closing Show Hosted by Gus Lynch with Darlene Westgor and Kjell Bjorgen and Festival Headliner Chad Daniels; 9.30 p.m. – Live music and party with The Kalua Band.
Food, drink, and gifts will be sold throughout the final evening. All proceeds from this event will go towards building a children’s playground in the Akumal Pueblo. There are currently no public facilities where our local children can play.

Business beat…

Boulevard cuts through Phase 4 development

A major double barreled boulevard has been cut into Phase 4 – the final phase of the Puerto Aventuras community, marina and golf course encompassing 42.6 hectares (94 acres) of the 320 hectares or about 790 acres that define the entire Puerto Aventuras resort not including the 300-hectare Pueblo across the highway. A hectare, by the way, equals 2.47 acres.

Phase 4 promises more canals flowing peacefully along rows of distinctive homes, several more waterfront hotels, a jaunty wooden bridge to an islet beach club and premier restaurant, a half-dozen new condominium complexes, grand yachts and small craft hugging the quay, bike paths and roads lined with vivid tropical foliage, more people, more jobs, more community.
Developer and architect Roman Rivera Torres said in announcing the beginning of Phase 4 development two years ago this month, that the sale of four large seaside tracts to hotel and condo developers, four of five condominium blocks and 21 of 116 house lots facing a canal and docking would be pushing the development along once all permits were secured. That evidently took some time.
Plan 4 development stage should create 1,500 new direct jobs that will mean a population growth of about 3,500,” Rivera Torres said. This would add to the current 2,000 residents of the resort that climbs to 4,500 in season plus the 4,000 to 7,000 residents of the pueblo for an estimated in-season community of over 10,000 population as time and development strides into the 2000 decade.

He expects the infrastructure project will take 3.5 years while construction by third parties will continue for six or seven years. The major work of digging the channel is expected to take three years to complete, he said.
“Because the project was modified, I had to apply for new permits,” he said.
As in the past, Rivera Torres had said he plans to invest in the project, creating a new beach between an islet and the mainland and operate a beach club and upscale restaurant there. He said people will be able to ride to it on their bicycles (along planned bike trails around the nearby Caleta and Cenote) or in their dinghies and tenders on the quiet ribbons of canals.
He added that some sales of house lots have been to residents already living in Puerto Aventuras but seeking to upgrade to a new level of privacy. More information at www.puertoaventuras.com.mx or telephone 984-873-5111.

Dog with attack history is poisoned, dies

A dog with a record of having attacked people and other dogs was poisoned last week in an apparent act of vengeance. The poison was believed to have been delivered on ham meat.
Armando Rincon, Colonos GM, corroborated that the dog had previously been photographed on surveillance tapes biting a Colonos employee. A more recent incident, he said, involved the dog hurling through a window screen of a nearby apartment and attacking a dog inside, making a considerable mess in the process and causing damage to furniture and drapes.
The dead dog’s owner was reported seen last week along the marina walk in the area of Marina Blue Condos shouting “Who poisoned my dog?” and, said one witness to the scene, accusing and/or threatening a woman. Security had to be summoned.
The Colonos authority does not subscribe to using poison on dogs as a measure of solving a problem, but some officials recognize that when residents ignore rules and nothing is done by authorities to abate problems and enforce leash laws, some residents see no alternative but to take the law into their own hands.
These events would not have occurred, said the Colonos, if dog owners observed the rule to keep dogs leashed and under control when outdoors.
Phrase a week … By Gloria Contreras, state certified interpreter
Most heard phrase in the past few weeks is “when are you leaving? or, “Cuando sale?”
(Ms. Contreras teaches Spanish classes from 3 to 4 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays at Tiramisu Restaurant and all are welcomed to attend. The fee is $150 pesos. Please call her first to make arrangements at 984-108-3517

What’s Playing…

See for yourself what’s showing at the local movie houses in Playa del Carmen at the links below.

Briefly Noted…

Compiled from staff, contributors and media reports
DOLLARS AND SENSE – President of Omni Hotels, Abelardo Vara Rivera, is complaining that Mexico’s anti money-laundering law restricting the flow of dollars into the country is hurting the tourism industry that often deals with large sums of money above the $14,000 limit …
SUSHI-MI restaurant offering oriental fare here has decided to close its doors for good. It is the second business so far this year to shut down in the face of increased rental costs among other factors. Flamingo Crossing boutique clothing will also be locking its doors after a half-price sale …
THIS ISN’T BROADWAY – The new lighting along Bahia Xcacel is done but some people claim they don’t shed that much light in the aggregate …
HOTEL OCCUPANCY on nearby Cozumel Island reached nearly 84 percent over the Easter holy days while restaurants in the Q. Roo southland reported a 30 percent uptick in business…
FOREIGN WORKERS – The Confederation of Workers in Playa del Carmen suspects foreign workers are taking tourism industry jobs away from locals and wants the government to begin checking their papers…

END THIS POST Just kidding

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