Thursday, August 13, 2020

Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events Thursday, August 13

  Here's the webcam LINK, which also has time lapse of the past 24 hours.
~Please visit our sponsors~

The Governor said our Northern Zone will remain in Orange next week.

Today the municipality of Isla Mujeres reports one more case for a total of 113, with 7 deaths and 63 recovered.
The state Geoportal has 26 active cases by colonia as: La Gloria-7, Salina Chica-3, Salina Grande-3, Meteorologico-2, Caridad del Cobre-2, Lol-beh-2, Ampl la Gloria-1, Canotal-1, Downtown-1, Aeropuerto-1, Miraflores-1, Electristas-1, Colonia #6-1, and none on the mainland.
This is the end of Week 22 since the first case in Q Roo on Friday, March 13, in Cancun. These past 5 weeks take up a lot of the pie chart.
The municipality of Isla Mujeres reports an incidence rate of 9.23 (per 10,000), which is fourth worst in the state. The worst is Holbox (LC) at 18.35, also in our Northern Zone. Cancun (BJ) & P. Morelos are the best 3.28, and PDC (Solidaridad) is doing well at 4.48 & Cozumel at 5.09, but Tulum is at 7.95. The Southern Zone isn't doing well with Chetumal (OPB) at 14.99, Bacalar at 14.06 and other two are at 7.58 & 5.87.
On the national map for 8/12, the municipality of Isla Mujeres reports 7 suspicious and 55 negatives (with 112 confirmed and 7 deaths).
I post the color update for Aug 17-23 tonight when it's announced around 9pm.

Tropical Depression #11, which poses no threat to the coast of Q Roo, is still somewhat disorganized & taking her own sweet time to strengthen into "Tropical Storm Josephine", which is expected to occur later today. Winds remain at ~35 mph & TS status starts at 39mph. It's moving WNW at ~15mph, which is expected to continue until late this weekend or early next week when a turn to the NW is expected. USA Today explains that phenomenon: "It’s riding the underbelly of the Bermuda High. Once it reaches a weakness in the counterclockwise swirl that typically lives between Bermuda and the Azores, it will take a more northerly heading."
Isla's official forecast says "Partly cloudy to cloudy skies, chances of rain as well as some isolated squalls with electrical activity. Hot to very hot temperatures, variable winds in the morning after 10a, setting NE at 15-25kph, with some occasional stronger gusts in stormy areas."
The regional forecast is similar, attributing this weather to the entry of tropical maritime air with varied moisture content, from the Caribbean Sea to the Peninsula.
It is also noted that Tropical Wave #27 is located over the Central Honduras & the Gulf of Honduras, western Nicaragua, & the Pacific Ocean. In upcoming hours it is expected to influence Q Roo, generating variable cloudiness, rain and occasional squalls with electrical activity. The second is over the eastern portion of Cuba & the central portion of Colombia, also generating variable cloudiness with occasional isolated rains and squall with electrical activity. It does not present favorable conditions to evolve into a tropical system.

Yesterday, personnel with Civil Protection and the Firefighters, helped free a turtle caught in the rocks below the cliffs of Punta Sur, in response to a request for assistance.
It says...Actions like this fulfill us and motivate us to be better human beings, putting in our 'granito de arena' (literally this is "grain of sand", but it means 'doing your bit & every little bit counts'. ) VIDEO  

    On Monday, the island will commemorate the decree that founded Isla Mujeres as the Pueblo of Dolores on August 17, 1850. During their first decade on Isla Mujeres, the war refugees who settled the village rebuilt their homes after two hurricanes, and learned how to earn their living from the sea. Meanwhile, the Mexican-Yucatan government sold nearly half the isle to a Spanish slave-trader/pirate.
    Isla's settlers were escaping a civil war between the indigenous Maya and the Yucatan inhabitants of European descent. In the summer of 1848, the Mayan rebels had a force of over 100,000 men, and panic spread across the peninsula when Valladolid fell. Thousands fled by boat, and newspapers reported there were 1500 refugees on the formerly uninhabited island of Isla Mujeres. (This war officially ended more than 50 years later, in 1901.)
    Prior to the beginning of the Caste War, the uninhabited island was visited by seasonal fishermen camping in improvised thatch huts, who were attracted by the abundance of nesting turtles, fish and salt. For more than two and a half centuries, this Caribbean isle on the eastern edge of Mexico was an outpost for pirates, which ended when the Lafitte brothers were evicted by the government in the early 1800's.
    In 1850, it was advantageous for the Mexican government to have settlements on the islands of Cozumel and Mujeres because the British in Belize, who were allied with the Mayan rebels, were taking advantage of the chaos along the coast to try and settle it. At that time, the island was surpassing Campeche as a shipping port for the wood known as "palo de tinte", which was a valuable export for the region, used for dye. It was a major source of revenue for the Mayan rebels, and there was a brisk black market for the timber, with smugglers based in nearby Belize (aka British Honduras) and among the 700 Britons living in the municipality of Isla Mujeres at Cape Catoche, north of the island. For this reason, Isla's settlers weren't allowed to leave the isle without permission, and were required to report any foreigners who visited, and whether they had intentions to stay.
     The 427 inhabitants of Dolores were on their own, with no protection from the government, and they feared attacks by the rebels. The families had fled from inland, and only five of the men listed their occupations as fishermen. To obtain legal title to their properties, they had to grow crops and reside continuously for six years. They were required to build a barracks, establish a police force, and to construct their own roads and infrastructure. Two years after founding the town, they endured their first major hurricane, and then another in 1857.
      Fermin Mundaca (aka "The Pirate of Isla Mujeres") was first mentioned in 1858, when he was 33 years old. He purchased 40% of the island and is credited with constructing the first permanent buildings, except for the old Mayan temples, whose stones he presumably used. The foundation of a temple dedicated to goddess Ixchel was recently uncovered on his hacienda, along with many Mayan relics and some ancient skeletal remains. (It was found under the monkey cage, which was part of a tourist attraction zoo that included a jaguar and crocodiles, and was discontinued about 15 years ago.)
     Mundaca had acquired his fortune trafficking slaves from Africa to Cuba. There are indications he was also involved in transporting Mayans to work as slaves in Cuban mines. During the Caste War, Mundaca and other volunteers from Isla Mujeres earned recognition from the Governor for rescuing prisoners in Cozumel. He was born in Spain and introduced himself as the "Spanish Consul on Isla Mujeres", at that time when Cuba was still a Spanish territory.
      There is not much news about Isla Mujeres from these early years, when bloody massacres continued on the mainland. The village and the region were affected by the "Disease of the Century", cholera, whose consequences were disastrous in terms of lives lost.
      Twelve years after Dolores was founded, in 1862 the Yucatan government finally provided a school, built of palm thatch and wood. That was also the year that Martiniana (Prisca) Gomez Pantoja, was born, who is known as "La Trigueña". (This refers to her brown hair, with golden highlights from the sun, which stood out from the usual jet black.) She is legendary for her beauty and for rejecting Mundaca and his riches. He was 37 when she was born.
     In 1866, a census by the reigning French government indicated there were 468 residents. Nearly half of the population was under 20, and there were 130 children under ten.
      By the 1870's, the settlers had adapted to the environment by becoming fishers of turtles, sponges and sharks. They were no longer alone, with ships from Cuba arriving frequently with supplies and news from the outside world. Belizeans and Hondurans were also welcomed when their ships made stops in the Bay. Isla Mujeres earned a reputation for its cleanliness and beauty, as well as its prosperity.
      The first photographs of Isla Mujeres were taken by Augustus le Plongeon, a 50 year-old eccentric archeologist who visited with his 25 year-old bride, Alice, in 1876-77.(#1) The couple published detailed descriptions of the village and the daily lives of the villagers. At times, their accounts reflect their American-European biases and some probable embellishments, but they give valuable insights into those early days.
      Alice le Plongeon described Mundaca as a strange character who lived an austere, isolated, selfish existence, allowing his cattle to roam loose, spoiling the crops of the villagers. She also mentioned the look-out towers left behind by the Lafitte pirate-brothers. She failed to mention the Cuban revolutionary, Marti, who also visited the island during the period they were on the isle.
       At that time, Mundaca was 51 and caught up in the throes of his infatuation with young adolescent Prisca, "La Trigueña". He built arched entrances to beautiful gardens dedicated to her, and filled them with statuary, benches and exotic tropical plants.(#3 & #4) She'd apparently rejected him by the time she turned 15 in 1877, because he carved himself a tombstone inscribed with that date and these words: "AS YOU ARE, I WAS; AS I AM, YOU WILL BE.(#4)
       Alice described her first impression of the isle, when they arrived at night: "The water of the bay was as un-ruffled and crystalline as a sheet of emerald; and the village of Dolores made a charming picture, with its thatched cottages, boats hauled up on the white beach, and tall palms waving like feathered canopies above the dwellings; while the perfect stillness made us almost imagine that we beheld an enchanted island awaiting the touch of a magic wand. That wand was the first golden sun-ray that shot from the east, calling every creature to life and action. Doors were thrown open; faint columns of smoke wreathed their way to the cloudless sky; children ran to the beach to float their toy ships; fishermen launched their boats; women passed to and fro, and feathered songsters warbled their sweetest lay."
       The Le Plongeons wrote about the abundance of chit-palms on the island, whose thatch served as building material for all the homes of the village, including the dozen or so with walls made of stone. Each hut was surrounded by a yard, where flowering plants were cultivated, with some difficulty due to the sandy soil. They described the interiors as identical for both for rich or poor, consisting of a single large room where sleeping hammocks are hung at night, sometimes with an old sail as a partition. Boards scavenged from wrecked vessels were repurposed as partitions and furniture. Possessions included a variety of basic nautical and fishing equipment, and a wooden statuette of the family's patron saint, as well as lithographs of the Virgin Mary, with a lamp or candle burning before the shrine. Floors were surfaced with 'betun' (Mayan 'concrete').
      At that time, there was one large lake in the middle of the island, which they described as "most picturesque" and about three miles in length, with a channel opening to the Bay at its south end, making it subject to tides. "It is surrounded by banks twenty feet high, covered with verdure; seagulls soar overhead, filling the air with discordant screams, while pelicans, herons and storks are perched here and there, half hidden among the foliage, motionless, wistfully watching the water, to catch the unsuspicious fish that venture within their reach."
      The Le Plongeons claimed the center of the island was connected by an underground water passage to the east side of the island at certain times of the year, which caused the large deposits of salt, located 100 yards from the southern end of the lake. Alice wrote about her "expedition to the salt pits", describing the islanders: "They seem to regard it as a kind of picnic, though the work is laborious, especially for the women, who stand in muddy water all day long putting the salt in large turtle shells, that serve instead as vats." She said they began working before sunrise, due to the unbearable heat, and that the salt toughened and cracked their skin. (Salt from Isla Mujeres was sold commercially into the mid 1900's. In addition to preserving food, it was used to tan hides, including by Mundaca, who exported hides and pelts to Cuba.)
     Alice shared her observations about the islander families hunting nesting turtles on summer nights: "The air was exquisitely soft and balmy, the moon so brilliant that every fleeting cloud was reflected in the clear water of Dolores Bay, while the white sand of the shore glittered under our feet as we sauntered along enjoying the beauty of the scene....where all was silent as the white tombstones in the village graveyard, by which we passed." Turtles were a vital source of income and food, which were kept in large pens until they were shipped to market, and if they became lean, they were set free in the inland lake, and re-caught once they'd "fattened up".
        When the Le Plongeons visited the Mayan ruins at Punta Sur, the villagers followed them and strongly disapproved of their attempts to dig at the site, so the foreigners returned more discreetly on another day. They dug up an Ixchel statuette-incense burner buried under the floor of the temple, breaking it with a shovel in the process.(#2)
       The wooden lintels of the temple doorways were still intact, constructed from tropical hardwoods many centuries earlier. Alice commented on the graffiti left behind by other foreigners, including a name she recognized carved in 1841: "This gentleman is now President of the American Bank Note Company in New York City." She predicted that the entire temple structure would eventually disappear, noting that part of the platform and eastern wall of the shrine had already fallen into the sea. (It didn't disappear, but it had deteriorated into a pile of rubble even before Hurricane Gilberto struck in 1988, and later it was partially rebuilt.)
        The foreign couple described the islanders as: "A fine set of people...the men, mostly of Indian race, speaking among themselves in the Maya language, are sinewy and athletic. They forcibly recalled to our minds the figures of warriors so beautifully portrayed on the walls of the inner room in the Chaacmol monument at Chichen-Itza. It is surprising to see them handle their canoes--so similar in shape to those used by the ancient Mayas, as seen sculptured on the stones of the queen's room at Chichen. Hardy, fearless and skillful in their own craft, they are said to be worthless as sailors of larger vessels. The women, of medium height, are handsome, graceful, not overly shy, and rather slovenly. It is a fact, patent at first sight, that the Indian blood is fast disappearing from amongst the islanders. The blue eyes, fair, rosy skins, and light blond hair of the rising generations bespeak their direct descent from European blood."
         Alice gossiped about the sailors from Spanish Cuba: "In case of stormy weather or laziness, the captains remain at Mugeres island for days together, never in a hurry to leave; for if in Spain they have one family, here also there are blue-eyed children to climb on their knees and call them 'Papa'. This state of affairs does not seem to be out of the way there; it may be that few have preserved the right to point the finger at their neighbor."
       She mentioned the smugglers: "Besides the schooners from Havana, there are coasting sloops that carry on considerable contraband between British Honduras and Yucatan, stopping at the island for any cargo they can get."
        The Le Plongeons left the isle to continue their archeological studies, and soon found themselves at odds with the Mexican government, who seized the famous "Chacmool" sculpture they'd found at Chichen Itza, when they attempted to ship it to the United States. They were internationally discredited for their theories that the Mayan civilization originated in Egypt and Atlantis, but the observations and photographs they left behind were a lasting archeological legacy.
Mundaca left the island for the Yucatan capital of Merida, seeking treatment for yellow fever. It's believed he died there between 1880 and 1882 from the disease, "and a broken heart", but his death certificate and grave have never been located. It's said the beautiful Prisca married a local fellow & raised a family; nowadays a statue and section of the malecon are dedicated to her. As for the rest of the islanders, they and their descendants continued to survive hurricanes & epidemics, but now they graciously share their island with thousands of tourists & foreign residents. Happy 170th Birthday, Isla Mujeres !!
        Another time, I'll tell you how Isla Mujeres nearly became part of the United States three years before it was founded, when the "Yucatan Bill" won approval from the US President & Congress in 1847, but lost in the Senate. And then there was that time a decade earlier, when the Islas Mujeres & Cozumel were claimed by the Texas Navy, but that was pretty bogus. The mid-1800's were tumultuous times in this neck of the woods!
Written by Ronda Winn-Roberts, sponsored by Maravilla Caribe Bed & Beach
#1 & 2 by the LePlongeons. #3 & 4 by unknown photographer of one of the old entrances to Muncaca Hacienda & garden,.#4 is from "Yank in Yucatan" by Rolfe F. Schell, 1973.

VIDEO of Punta Sur & a quick, beautiful walk down the path to the sea. She's remarking on the blueness of the water & explains she's at the southern end of the isle, across from Cancun, where the sun first touches Mexico, each day, near the ruined Mayan temple of the goddess Ixchel. This video has over 1.6 million views!

Children's art contest for the 170th Anniversary of the founding of Isla Mujeres

Painting crosswalks and speedbumps 
  This work is being done at night to avoid affecting traffic and causing congestion, now that mobility has increased in this Pueblo Magico due to the influx of hundreds of visitors.
     The Director of the municipal Public Works Department said, "We have already finished downtown, and Rueda Medina to Mundaca, as well as Prolongacion Aeropuerto to the high school (Bachilleres) and Martinez Ross Avenue to La Gloria. And little by little we will enter the colonias to cover the more than 80 speedbumps and pedestrian crosswalks."

There are infographics about preventing the spread & contagion of C-19.


  This blog is brought to you by....

MaraVilla Caribe   Bed & Beach    Four rentals with large glass doors overlooking our white sand beach and the beautiful Caribbean sea, with  kitchenettes & fast WIFI. In the upscale neighborhood of  Bachilleres, convenient to downtown or the colonias, yet separate.  Quiet & Private.   
A large slider opens from each of the 3 rooms onto the patio where each has a table & chairs, hammock & clotheslines. The BBQ is behind the pole, and the outdoor shower is out of the pic at left.

"Reverse Sunset" (looking east from MVC)
Free amenities include hammocks, portable beach chairs, beach towels, washer & dryer, loungers, shared bikes, BBQ grill, and safes.  Panoramic views from the rooftop terrace. Large sliding doors open to a patio & the white sand backyard-beach, overlooking the Caribbean sea.  Downtown is  ~ a mile away; we're on all four bus routes or  flag a $3 taxi. Off street parking. You can enjoy the music & crowds downtown, then return to the quiet neighborhood of Bachilleres and  sleep to the sounds of the sea.$275/$325/$425 wk   $40/50/$65nt  Monthly Discounts
Fine dining a few steps away at Da Luisa or try the neighborhood eateries a couple blocks farther. We provide a list of links & direction to over 20 eateries within ten minutes walk, including Mango Cafe,  Mike's Pizza, Brisas, Rosa Sirena, Coco Jaguar, Manolitos, La Chatita, Green Verde, Kash Kechen Chuc, and the large department store-grocery Chedraui & the local craft brewery.  Visit marinas, bars, & beach clubs that are minutes away by bike or on foot. Attend Yoga classes a couple villas away at Casa Ixchel. Fresh juice, produce & tortillas a few blocks away in the village, as well as a variety of other stores.
Full moon rising over the Caribbean 
 Just after Sunset--August 3 at 7:47
  August 4      8:29 
 August 5    9:07
August 6      9:42
August 7     10:16
August 8     11:22

 Sunset  7:25-7:03pm (beginning vs end of month)
Sunrise  6:21-6:30am
Painting by Pamela Haase at MVC
Turtles continue nesting in August. They can be observed mating offshore from Punta Sur during this month, and they nest along the eastern beaches. Tortugranja staff and volunteers gather the eggs and incubate them in the sand in a pen outside the facility. Three species nest annually in Isla Mujeres, Greens, Loggerheads, and Hawksbills, and very rarely, a Leatherback will attempt to nest, but generally the sand isn't sufficiently deep.

Swimming with the whale sharks takes place in August, which ends annually in mid-September. They congregate and feed on a 'buffet' of plankton and fish eggs from a type of tuna. Rays are also attracted to the feeding areas.  Photo by Tony Garcia

>>Meteors!! The Perseids are currently active & one of the most popular showers. They will peak in the early mornings of the weekend of August 11,12 & 13, but the moon will be at or slightly past its last quarter phase and interfering. However, the Perseids are bright & you may see 3 or 4 dozen when they are peaking, if you're patient. They continue thru the 24th. The Alpha Capricornids are going on now (thru Aug. 15) with only a few meteors per hour, but they are known for producing bright fireballs when active. (They peaked Tuesday & moonlight will interfere with visibility.)

Sources for Weather Information:
LINK to Civil Protection Q Roo weather bulletin  (Spanish)
LINK to Mexico National Weather Service (Spanish)
 LINK to satellite images for the Mexico National Weather Service
 LINK to GOES East Band 16 GIF (animation)
LINK to a private weather station on Isla Mujeres
LINK to NHC   

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.