Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events Tuesday, January 14

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New 2020 Management Plan for Isla Contoy  
 The director of the Isla Contóy National Park, María del Carmen García Rivas spoke about the new management plan for the year 2020. The Meeting of the Plenary Advisory Technical Council of the Contóy Island National Park was attended by people from all sectors including academic research, tourism, and fishing, as well as the organization Friends of Isla Contoy. 
   The topic of greatest interest was the presentation about the problem of White Syndrome among the corals, by researchers with the Institute of Marine Sciences, of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. This study determined that White Syndrome has killed about 30 percent of Mexico's corals, but the death rate at Contoy is about 20 percent. 
  The Management Plan for 2020 focuses on restoration of the reef, using corals that don't get sick and planting more live coral nurseries, as well as restoration of the coastal dunes. She explained that they will continue the work they have been doing on the issues of control of red mites and the coco palms, as well as improvements regarding fish and fishing. Parrotfish are now protected under Mexican law. They plan to increase monitoring of the fishing sector and encourage the placement of "casitas Cubanas"  (which are artificial 'homes' for lobster). LINKat TVIM

Isla Contoy is at the northern tip of the 1000 km/ 600 miles of Mesoamerican reef, whose corals are dying from a little-understood disease called SCTLD, Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease. It has affected Florida's corals since 2014, and was detected here in the northern Mexican Caribbean in July 2018, spreading 400 kilometers to the south near Belize, where it has caused more loss than was seen in the past 40 years. (Some sources say the problem is "White Band Disease"--which affects the Acropora corals--staghorn, elkhorn & the table corals. SCTL mostly affects the larger reef-building corals like brain corals.)

Within weeks, it kills off coral tissue that took decades to grow, leaving behind a white skeleton. Among the reefs being studied at Puerto Morelos and Isla Contoy, 25 of the region's 40 coral species have been affected, of which three are on the brink of extinction in the region. Researchers are building up a DNA bank of the endangered corals, in hopes of one day bringing them back from extinction in the wild, if needed.

While the cause of the disease is suspected to be a microbe, the reefs seems to become susceptible in association with stressors such as contaminants from sewage and sargasso decomposition, increasing water temperatures, and sunscreen, which authorities in this region have recently banned. Various studies have indicated the ingredient oxybenzone impedes coral reproduction.

The reefs of the Mexican Caribbean attract more than 3/4's of a million tourists annually, generating significant economic activity in the region's main industry. In November, authorities temporarily closed three sections of the Cozumel National Park reef--Palancar, Colombia, and El Cielo.

In May, CONANP (Natural Protected Areas Commission) reported that 30% of the Mexican Caribbean reefs had been affected, and by August that figure had risen to 42 percent. The first three photos are from their blog about their response to ""Síndrome blanco", which is here.

The last three photos by local divemaster Arturo Peña of "The Church" coral formation when it was healthy in 2012 (see the fish feeding by cleaning it.), diseased in 2017, dead in 2019. He notes that this type of coral has become rare in the region. It's a pillar coral, which are slow growing & long lived, except they're very susceptible to bleaching & white plague disease (and over-collection where they're not protected). They're in the "Vulnerable" category on the IUCN Threatened Species list.

From the City....

Students receive cards & letters from one of Isla's Sister-Cities, Bonita Springs, Florida
    About 70 letters and postcards were received from students of Bonita Springs, Florida, which is a sister-city of Isla Mujeres since March, 2019.  As part of a cultural exchange program, the students of Isla Mujeres wrote letters in English for the students in Florida about the island's traditions, typical regional foods and cultural experiences and now they have received a response. Fifty of the letters were given to students of the Benito Juarez middle school, who now will have a 'pen pal'.

TVisla Mujeres    
New car-ferry schedule started yesterday.

CROC union facilitates completion of university education (Video-interview). In December, they signed an agreement with the Universidad Peninsular del Sur, who work with the municipalities, such as Isla Mujeres, that lack a university. Registration is available for various careers and the classes will be held at the CROC facility.starting Jan. 18.

The program for Carnaval should be ready on Tuesday of next week, which will be held Feb. 21-25. (Video interview)

Video of the scene & brief firefighter interview after the small fire in a home in colonia La Gloria Sunday evening which was caused by a poor installation of an air conditioner.

The Isla Mujeres Cockteleros, who are leading the league, were victorious when they played in Puerto Morelos on Sunday afternoon, with a score of 15 to 9 against the Rockies. (photo of team).

From  Por Esto :

Commercial fishing resumes 

Reanudan pesca comercial

 On Sunday, the southeasterly winds decreased and nautical activities resumed for all boats, which caution advisories because there were still some winds up to 40kph. Cold Front #30 arrived on Sunday afternoon & the encounter between two systems causes some brief rain at 3pm. Thousands of tourists visited the island and its sites. The divers were able to go out and 200 passengers were taken to Isla Contoy in various boats, which is the maximum daily capacity of the park.

Good catches of lobster  

Buena captura de langosta

    Although the weather prevented lobster fishing at the beginning of 2020, the fishermen who camp at Isla Contoy are now bringing in good catches. The lobsters are getting caught in their nets, and they are harvesting the tails, as well as the antennas, which serve as food for many families. One boat brought in about 100 kilos.
   Those who use traps sell the live lobsters, and unfortunately, some members of the Social Justicia cooperative lost several thousand pesos worth of lobsters due to sedimentation, which were stacked below the APIQRoo port authority pier, and only the ones at the top of the stacks survived.
   The seamen said they are migrating in response to the last cold front, and that the "Surada" winds from the south also encourage their migration.
   Fishermen who had been at Isla Contoy for five days, were able to clean out their nets on Sunday morning and return to Isla Mujeres with boats full of product. and put it into the coolers at the Caribe cooperative.
   The best catches occur in January and February when the winds and bad weather cause the lobsters to migrate. It is noted that unfortunately there have been an exceptional number of cases of decompression among the lobster fishermen who dive using compressed air, with 150 cases by the start of the year, which is twice as many as the previous season. There are concerns that this number could reach 200 by the end of the eight-month season, which concludes on Feb. 29th.


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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 outa the pic at left.

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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, Manolitos, La Chatita, Green Verde, Kash Kechen Chuc, and the large department store-grocery , Chedraui & 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. Catch a bus or taxi out front. It takes 20-30  minutes to walk downtown.
Full moon rising over the Caribbean 
 January 10  6:28
January 11  7:31
January 12  8:36
January 13   9:39
 January 14  10:41
January 15 11:41

Painting by Pamela Haase at MVC
 Sunset  ~6:15-6:35p (beginning vs end of month)
Sunrise ~7:25am
January Events 
Provided by MaraVilla Caribe & Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events

Wednesday nights at 8:45p, the group "Isla en Bici" bike around the isle, meeting at Juarez &  Abasolo. Lights required, helmet recommended. LINK

Thursday afternoons ~3p-8p Artist Fair on the Paseo de la Triguena off the Town Square at the malecon by the food trucks.

Some Sunday evenings 8p on the Town Square "Noches Magicas" performances  

Fishermen in this region are banned from catching octopus during January.   LINK 

Friday, Jan. 3 First quarter moon. After the moon has completed the first quarter of its orbit around Earth, the relative positions of the Earth, sun, and moon cause us to see it half-illuminated — on its eastern side. At first quarter, the moon always rises around noon and sets around midnight local time, so it is conveniently positioned for observing before youngsters' bedtimes. The evenings around first quarter are excellent for looking at the lunar terrain while it is dramatically lit by low-angled sunlight. (Source-Space.com)

EARLY Saturday, Jan. 3 The Quadrantids meteor shower peaks between 3am and dawn. The moon won't be around to interfere. The shower's radiant, which is beyond the tip of the Big Dipper's handle, will be high in the northeastern sky.

Monday, Jan. 6, On the first Monday of each month, there is usually a civic ceremony in the morning, often on the Town Square around 8am.  

Monday, Jan. 6 Dia de Reyes/Kings Day At Ruben's Restaurant, in front of the Post Office & Mercado on the back street Guerrero, volunteers will be giving away 1000's of toys that have been donated, and a snack & drink, usually starting around 10am. They also provide hampers of food for families in need of them. The DIF social service agency usually has an event at the baseball field in front of Chedraui or at the Bicentennial with entertainment and raffles, starting around 4p or 5p, but it's not always held on the 6th.  Jan 6 is also Nurses Day in Mexico.

4:30 Kings Day festival at the Pescador baseball field 

Friday, Jan 10 Full moon rises at sunset & sets at sunrise. There will be an eclipse as the moon passes thru the earth's shadow, but only the beginning and final stages will be visible here .

Sunday, Jan 12 at 1p at the Pescador baseball field in front of Chedraui, the Isla Mujeres Pescadors will play the Puerto Morelos Cardinals, who they beat last weekend 8-7 in an 'away' game. They're currently in third place & hoping to be in the semifinals.

Saturday & Sunday, January 25 & 26 Ultramarathon Nonstop 24 Hours Isla Mujeres event LINK

The Thor Heyerdahl traveling school-sailboat visits in late January-early February with about three dozen high school students on board. Under the tutelage of the experienced crew, the students learn to work together, sailing and navigating, as well as receiving their normal lessons. They sail from Germany to the Caribbean, departing in October and returning home in May.
      The ship is named for the man who sailed a hand made raft "Kon Tiki" from South America 5000 miles across the Pacific to the Tuamotu Islands in 1947, to demonstrate that ancient people could have made long sea voyages, creating contacts between apparently separate cultures. LINK  

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

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