Costa Maya Newsletter > Archived Costa Maya Newsletters > Costa Maya-Mahahual June-2011 Newsletter
You can now read up to the minute Mahahual happenings at http://costamayablog.mahahuallive.com/ and Facebook
*********** Costa Maya-Mahahual Newsletter-June 2011 **********
Hi Costa Maya Neighbors,
That's a Central American Agouti, DASYPROCTA PUNCTATA, a rodent member of the mostly South American Agouti Family, the Dasyproctidae. The species is distributed from southern Mexico south through central South America.
The picture shows a small one about the size of a rabbit nosing around our compost heap, as usually it does early each morning. Adult agoutis are as big as small pigs and from a distance look just like pigs with rodent heads. Despite their rabbity manner of sitting they run like pigs, too, stiff-legged and fast, their bodies high off the ground, not hopping.
Getting a good picture of an agouti has been hard because either they're grazing in morning light too dim for a sharp picture, or else in broad daylight they're zipping across roads too fast to get a camera ready. Judging from the daily collection of new prints in dust along the road, there are lots of them.
When I hear animals crashing through the underbrush as my bike glides by, I'll bet that most of noise is caused by agoutis. Agoutis are diurnal -- active during the day. Mostly they eat fallen fruit, and one way to find them in dense vegetation is by listening for their gnawing on hard seeds.
One thing I'd like to photograph is their courtship ritual in which the male sprays urine on the female, who then goes into a "frenzy dance," leading up to mating. Agouti young need about 487 days to reach maturity, which seems a long time for a rodent, and the average agouti life span is nearly 14 years, which also seems long for a rodent.
Backyardnature.net is published weekly from Mayan Beach Garden in Placer. The information on the Agouti comes from the June 6, 2011 issue.
Another Hotel opens close to the Cancun airport
As much as I love the Courtyard by Marriott, I've actually found them full once or twice. I'm glad to announce Comfort Inn as another option for those having early flights out of Cancun airport. I haven't been there yet, but on the map, it shows that it is closer to the airport than the Courtyard. Current prices are about $10 USD less than Courtyard.
Comfort Inn Cancun Aeropuerto (MX067)
Carr. Cancun/Aeropouerto M4 L577560 Cancun, Q. Roo, Mexico, Cancun, MX, 77560
Phone: (52) 998 272 5200
Fax: (52) 998 272 5201
Playa del Carmen Overpass bridges completed
I finally made the trip from Mahahual to Cancun and to my delight, the Playa del Carmen bridges that by pass the majority of the traffic have been completed. The view from the bridges as you sail past the city let you see how truly large Playa del Carmen has become. The city stretches far to the west.
Unfortunately, there is still quite a few lights that you will have to stop at, but the new bridges shave at least 15 minutes off the journey from Cancun to Mahahual. You can drive 80 km an hour on the new bridges.
Tulum airport News
Unfortunately, it appears that the Tulum airport has met yet another snag. The SCT notified ASUR that the bidding process was declared void because none of the technical bids presented by the participants complied with the requirements established in the bidding documents. As a result, the economic proposals will not be opened and will be returned to the bidding participants. There was no mention of more time or another bidding opportunity. What does this mean? It is hard to say, but it appears to be dead - OR - it's in ASUR's court. .
As reported in "El Diario de Quintana Roo"
Because the current Chetumal airport terminal cannot be enlarged as a result of conflicts with the Chetumal Ejido, in two weeks the municipio will propose a project to build a new airport in Chetumal. The mayor of Othon P. Blanco, Carlos Tenorio Mario Villanueva, said they are working on the final details of the project to be officially submitted to the State Government. The new proposal is a result of the fact that there is no agreement on the ownership of the land were the present airport is located. The State Government's intention is to connect the southern part of the state in order to realize their economic goals. The new airport's location is in Calderitas.
Fires in Mahahual, Costa Maya and Quintana Roo 2011 Continue
As one passes along the highways in Quintana Roo and the Costa Maya one can't avoid the smell of smoke. Furthermore - it not a rarity to see flames licking the sides of the highway without anyone watching the fire or seemingly to be aware of its existence. It's somewhat frightening. As of April 21st - over 2500 hectares have been affected - with Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Sian Ka'an Biosphere have been the worst affected. The good news is that it is that at the moment I am writing this, we've had the first measurable precipitation since early February.
Charred remains along jungle road just north of Mahahual airport
On April 12, the state secretary of Tourism, Juan Carlos González Hernández , called on investors to look forward to the development of the municipalities of Bacalar and Othon P. Blanco as tourist destinations. In this regard , he indicated that there are plans to work in areas with potential, such as the historic center and recreation area in Bacalar and cruising areas and beaches in Mahahual. "With the federal Tourism Ministry " he said, "will develop some projects , such as the creation of a light rail route Cancun - Chetumal, new flights and connectivity to China , Russia and South America to increase the flow of visitors to the State." There was progress with promoters and travel agencies for the promotion of rural tourism and eco - archaeological tourism in the center and south of the state .
French investors plan to build an electric train, similar to that in Miami, which would connect the Cancun airport and end in the Hotel Zone. The project would create another train, which would run along the Riviera Maya (RM). The investment amount would range in the billions of pesos.
This could be two years in permitting.
NATURE NEVER CEASES TO AMAZE ME.
A couple of weeks ago I was driving, very slowly as the road is horrendous behind XTC and Hotel Flying Cloud, when a Great Kiskadee flew across the road immediately in front of me. Nothing strange about that, but SUPRISE, it had a writhing snake in it's beak.
The snake must have wriggled too much or struck the bird because it was dropped in the patch of grass by the road. I am not talking big snake, about a foot I think from the quick sighting as it dropped out of the sky. The Kiskadee then went from sitting in the fir tree immediately above where the snake was and hovering a foot or so above the grass looking for the snake. It didn't land to look, just hovered and peered down from the tree. While it was up the tree it raised it wings,' umbrella ish' in display showing the beautiful russet reddish colour and gave a loud cry. Within two, three minutes it was joined by another Kiskadee, it's mate I am presuming and they both did the looking, peering, hovering and the display with the wings and the cry.
Next, down flies a Mocking bird, landing on the edge of the grass, it too is looking and has puffed its self up to look important. I did momentarilary catch a glimps of the snake's head before it went back into hiding in the grass. So now there are two Kiskadees and a Mocking bird all looking for the snake, then up stomps a quite big iguana. It too wants in on this, I have never before felt sorry for a snake but ..............at that moment some people start walking down the road towards the "arena", the iguana runs back from where he came, the Mocking bird flies away and the Kiskadee's also depart.
I of course had no camera with me, I was only visiting a friend.
When I got back home I got straight on the computer to check this out, just one reference to Kiskadee's catching and killing snakes, that was from a naturalist who had been living in South America for thirty years and only ever seen it once. I consider myself lucky.
This is the time of year that the cowhorn orchids bloom. I have three blooming in my garden, the flowers are a lovely creamy colour with tinges of tangerine and a faint purple inside the throat of the flower. Elsewhere there are differing shades of colour, more orangey, even more purple but there are so many waving on their ten foot stems. I have just returned from a week in Belize, there they are everywhere but a much stronger colour orange. They grow on the trees and they are an absolute picture as you chug gently across the flats in Chetumal Bay, they are growing beside the ocean in whatever trees they can find to anchor on.
In my original Orchid reference book (Orchids of Belize) originally published in 1967 by Mr, Mrs Halcrow, they are named as Laelia Tibicinus (Schomburgkia T.) all the colours. I recently acquired a new reference book and find that they have been reclassified as Myrmecophila Tibicinus as they have a symbiotic association with ants.
IF A BUTTERFLY FLAPS ITS WINGS in Thailand, they say it can cause a hurricane in the Caribbean. And though it would hard to find any empirical data that would support that statement, there must surely be a few nerdy dreamers out there in the world who would like to believe such a wild flight of fantasy (including me:))
I CHASED BUTTERFLIES all day long trying to get a good photo of these fluttering phenomenons in flight. Finally gave up after exhausting my little digital camera battery (and myself). The blue morphos is startlingly beautiful with its color originating from the refraction of light thru cyanide crystals in its wings. (poisonous) As its color is irridescent, the intensity of the blue changes from brightly intense to much softer hues as the viewing angle changes. BLUE MORPHOS have a very irregular flight pattern due to having very large wings for their mass. And coupled with variable air currents under the total enclosure of the rainforest canopy, their flight is softly drifting and as magical as if choreographed by mischevious woodland fairies. Also totally unpredictable evidenced by the multiple scrapes and contusions I nurse every evening on my arms and legs inflicted during the chase by logs and thorny vines while in futile pursuit of these ephemeral little beings (rainforest trees have spikes on them specifically designed for impaling the dimwitted) ROADKILL LEFT ON THE HIGHWAY is a good indicator of the general well being of the local population. In Belize, roadkill was most likely "whats for dinner". If you looked closely at the meat portion hidden amidst the rice and beans, identifying the bones became part of casual lunch conversation. They were either like nothing you had ever seen before or crushed by massive heavy trauma unlikely to have taken place at the slaughter house. Gibnut(Royal Jungle Rat) was especially popular and was served to the Queen upon her visit one time. (probably no coincidence Britain divested themselves of Belize soon thereafter) CHASING DOWN FLORA AND FAUNA IN THE WILD is great fun until the hunter becomes the hunted. So I am keeping a eye out for velociraptors (you know, the scarily aggressive villainous meat eater dinosaurs of Jurrasic Park). Actually, I have seen their much smaller cousins with my own eyes......the "Jesus Lizards". They are everywhere. Running. Across the meadow, down the street, through the grocery store as absurdly supernaturally quick as your eyes can follow. The name follows from these little velociraptor sprinters running bipedal (upright on two legs) across a considerable expanse of water diving into the dense vegetation on their way to who knows where. WHY DOES A CHICKEN CROSS THE ROAD? The short anwer is that they don't. Not sucessfully in this particular case. Pedaling furiously to arrive at Drakes Bay before the next deluge, I started seeing chicken feathers roadside a couple hundred yard prior to the shocking sight of the first roadkill chicken ever. Still lying in repose. It made you wonder what the world was coming to when people would rush for agouti, gibnut or even iguana roadkill.......but would leave a hen in its overwhelmingly tempting partially defeathered state on the highway undisturbed. Darn, maybe Costa Rica was way more economically prosperous than it seemed. A couple hundred yards later, incredulously I turned back to get a closer look. It was already gone, LOL.
If you have something you want included in the classifieds, please send it to email@example.com. Limit text to 100 words and pictures no larger than 216 pixels wide. Include a contact email or phone number. It is a good idea to use an email address that is not your primary address to limit Junk mail coming your way. There is no charge, this is being done as a community service.
House for Sale in Xcalak
This beautiful little house is perfect for someone wanting to open a restaurant as it is located in the center of town right on the beach. The home includes the federal zone a 16 x 24 meter lot and is owned by our dear Xcalak Polly.
The house comes furnished, is on the grid which means it includes water and power. Polly has always had internet via Satellite and the house includes satellite equipment.
i don't usually include this many photos when I do a free classified, but Polly has been so helpful writing her column that I couldn't help but let you all see what a beautiful home she lives in, even though all of us will be sad to see her go.
Side yard and entrance into back yard. By the way . . . the quad is SOLD.
Looking out over the bar into the large living room.
Bedroom with King size bed. Privacy wall separates dressing area and closet
Spacious front porch (large enough for outside restaurant style sitting) looks out onto the caribbean.
Email me directly for Polly's email address if you are interested.
"Here are some of the main facts we have learned from this preliminary process:
1) A single individual or group can apply for extending the lines and getting service. The application forms are part of the attached .pdf document.
2) The CFE will interact *only* with the applying representative (single person or designated representative of a group) who takes responsibility (technical, legal and financial) for the project.
3) Technical specs are required in the application forms (type of service as *private* or *commercial*, total amperage requested, voltage 110 or 220 etc.). One can request aerial or underground lines (this is clearly specified in the CFE document).
4) Phase 1. Estudio de Factibilitad. The CFE will study the application and within a month will let us know whether the project is feasible.
If not feasible we would be told how to modify it to make it feasible (for example perhaps underground lines are non-approved but aerial lines might be OK).
5) Phase 2. Estudio Tecnico. The CFE will conduct a technical study regarding the technical parameters of the project (allotted amps, size of cables, type of poles, etc).
The CFE will charge a fee for this Technical Study, whose amount depends on the *size of the project* (amps requested, cross section of cables, aerial or underground etc). We have no idea of what these fees might be, nor can we estimate a "benchmark".
6) Phase 3. Semarnat and CFE will require an environmental study (impacto ambiental) for either aerial or underground lines. Costs are variable from $5000-20,000 US according to whom you ask and who is asking.
7) Phase 4. The applicant will choose a contractor from a list of CFE pre-approved contractors.
8) Phase 5. The contractor will build the line following *strictly* the terms of the CFE *Estudio Tecnico*. The applicant will bear the construction costs to be paid to the contractor. During construction, the CFE will maintain an inspector on site making sure that the construction conforms to the CFE *Estudio Tecnico*. The cost of the inspector are born by the applicant. We do not know their entity.
*NOTE* The CFE permits the applicant to choose the CFE itself as a contractor. This removes the *inspector* and the related charges. If so, however, the entire cost of the project is charged upfront and the process is slower (source: Ing. Canto, jefe de Planeacion CFE Chetumal).
9) Phase 6. When the line is completed, it is inspected by the CFE and approved after possible corrections, if any.
10) Phase 7. At this moment *each individual along the line* can apply for service and sign a service contract with the CFE.
Applicants will pay for their own transformer (which could be shared by 2-3 people/homes). This is pretty much standard and similar to the contract we all have with our utility company back home.
11) While paid for by the individual or group, the line is technically *property of the CFE*. As such the CFE will maintain it, and it will grant permission, by the same procedure, to extend it further to other users/applicants, if requested. In particular the line to Mr. Contreras belongs to the CFE and we *do not* need to ask permission to anyone other than the CFE to extend it (source: Ing. Canto jefe de planeacion CFE Chetumal)
In a phone interview with an Engineer at Empresa Roma (the company that built Contrera's line), he indicated that the cost in Rio Indio was about $60,000 pesos per Km. This has not been verified but at least is a starting reference point regarding potential costs. We have heard informally that we can do better than this, but we have also heard that it could be up to 10,000 USD per KM. Note that these estimates are for above ground lines (underground can be considerably more expensive).
There are 11.5 Km from the Contreras line to the Placer cut. There are at least 20 homes on that stretch, (not including bare lots) so the cost per property could be very reasonable if most people participate.
PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION:
It is unlikely that a single individual will either:=
(i) take legal and financial responsibility for a group of more than 20 owners or
(ii) pay alone for the cost to bring electricity to his/her property.
Because of this we feel that a possible way to proceed would be to form a Property Owners Association (POA) and applying to the CFE as such.
The POA might have benefits of its own (security to the area, road maintenance, possible common hurricane insurance, beach cleaning, support mechanism in case of a natural disaster, etc)
This e-mail is intended to explore whether there is sufficient interest among the property owners in the Rio Indio-Placer corridor to follow this path.
In the interest of *clarity/disclosure/transparencia*, we all should be aware that forming an association (POA or otherwise), has its own legal steps including but not limited to:
ALTERNATIVES TO A PROPERTY OWNERS ASSOCIATION:
If a POA appears *too committal* a group could be formed with the *SOLE POURPOSE OF BRINGING ELECTRICITY to El Placer* and to be dissolved after that goal is reached. This however will not avoid the legal steps outlined above. Most of all, and in all cases, we need an *ENFORCEABLE MECHANISM* by which all the associated individuals contribute to the costs of the initiative.
2) A good-hearted-individual (perhaps too risky for one single person) who will take responsibility (legal, financial etc) for the entire group, to interact with the CFE, not relying on any common *enforceable* structure.
Suggestions, comments and information on how to achieve these goals are very much appreciated."
Contact Marcia at firstname.lastname@example.org for Ted's email and phone number.