Monday, July 20, 2020

Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events Monday, July 20

  Here's the webcam LINK, which also has time lapse of the past 24 hours.
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July 20
The municipality of Isla Mujeres reports 3 more cases of Covid-19 today for a total of 60 with three deaths and 28 recovered.
The state map reports 21 active cases are located as follows: Downtown-5, Salina Chica-1, Salina Grande-2, Amplicacion la Gloria-4, Miraflores-1, Canotal-2, La Gloria-5, Guadalupana-1 and none on the mainland part of the municipality.
The national map for yesterday reports 7 suspicious and 35 negatives (with 57 confirmed and 3 deaths)

Some very old news...a 'lil Isla History. We seem to be having a very busy turtle nesting season, despite last year being very active

       Artificial incubation of turtle nests was pioneered in Isla Mujeres in the late 1950's by Gonzalo Chale Maldonado, aka "Don Chalito". He gathered discarded eggs that were left beside the dock where turtles were slaughtered and buried them at Playa Gaviotas, theorizing, "If the seagulls reproduce there, why not turtles?" More than 4000 baby turtles hatched the first year, and he obtained a permit to continue this work.
      In those days, Punta Gaviotas was a lonely area of Isla's western coast, inhabited by seabirds, raccoons, crabs & wandering dogs. Don Chalito, his wife, and ten children took turns protecting the nests and hatchlings from these predators, while enduring the abundant mosquitoes & sand fleas. They lost count after freeing more than a million and a half baby turtles over the years.
They fed the thousands of hatchlings on waste from the packing-house, and ground-up sardines, which they caught. In 1964, the federal government installed a Fishery Research Station at Punta Gaviotas, which facilitated his work. In 1998, he was awarded the "Ramón Bravo Silver Cross" for his altruistic work. Don Chalito passed away in 2011 at the age of 93 (RIP). 

      There are currently more than 400 nests at the Tortugranja incubation pen. They are each carefully labeled for location, date, type of turtle & number of eggs. Monitoring began 2-3 weeks before the official start of the season on May 15th, when there were already eight nests protected with 938 eggs. Workers & volunteers patrol the eastern beaches nightly, protecting the mamas & gathering their eggs. This prevents other turtles from destroying the previous nests as they dig, and scattering the eggs to be devoured by birds, iguanas, crabs & dogs. The patrols conclude two weeks after the season officially ends on Oct. 15th.
Photo by Noti Isla Mujeres
At 3 feet in length, the Hawksbills are the smallest of three species that nest on the island. They are the least common, the most fecund & among the earliest to arrive. Last year, one laid a record-breaking 237 eggs. Critically endangered, they were once prized internationally for their shells, which were turned into combs & other fashion accessories. They dine among the reefs, where an adult consumes half a ton of sponges annually, as well as mollusks & sea urchins. The Tortugranja mascot (a human in costume) is a "Carey" (Hawksbill). The facility has an extensive educational program to raise awareness about sea turtle conservation.
At 3 1/2 feet long, Loggerheads are the "middle" turtles in size and nesting frequency here. Isla's basketball team, the "Cahuameros", is named for them, as are liter-sized beer bottles. Our state is the only place they nest in Mexico. They enjoy a varied diet of jellyfish, crustaceans, crabs, conchs, fish and carrion.

The 4-foot-long Greens are the largest & most abundant, as you can see on the graph, which also reveals their every-other-year pattern of activity. They are called "Blancas" for the white underside of their shells, while "Green" refers to the color of their body (meat). They graze in fields of sea grass
           When Alice le Plongeon visited Isla Mujeres in the 1880's she wrote: "The principal industry of the villagers is fishing, and from the months of April to August, all their attention is given to turtle-catching ... 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. ... Men, women, and children also wended their way to the north end of the island, where all was silent as the white tombstones in the village grave-yard by which we passed. ... Reaching a place where thick shrubs grew, not far from the water's edge, all concealed themselves behind the bushes or in the shadow cast by them, and from their hiding-place watched silently for the turtles. ... When the turtle begins to cover the eggs the people creep from their hiding-place and cut off her way to the water; then, when she starts toward them, they capture her and turn her over, not without trouble, for some weigh as much as five hundred pounds. The flaps are tied, and a mark set on the shell, so that when morning comes each party may know which they have captured. The family that catches two or three in a night is well satisfied. ... Its flesh tastes like good beef ... large quantities are dried and salted to be sold as jerked beef....The eggs are considered a great delicacy, and taste very rich, but have a strange sandiness that is unpleasant to the palate. ... Large pens are built at the water's edge to keep the turtles in until shipped for the market. When they become lean, from being kept thus too long, in order that they may fatten again, they are set free in the lake that is in the interior of the island after being branded with the mark of the owner. ... The green turtle is carried to British Honduras (Belize), where they are worth from one and a half to three dollars each."

  The trade continued thru the mid 1900's, when the ship "Adams" regularly transported turtles to Florida. An account of the hurricane of 1922 mentions barrels blowing in the wind that were used to store shark oil and turtle oil. There are photos from the early days of tourism of visitors riding the huge turtles, who were kept in pens along the western coast of the isle, awaiting transport.
      Violating Mexico's laws protecting sea turtles and their products can result in one to nine years in prison and/or fines of 36,000 to 360,000 pesos (300 to 3000 times the daily minimum wage). Seven of the eight recognized species of sea turtles in the world nest on the beaches of Mexico. Last year more than 100,000 turtle hatchlings were protected and released on Isla Mujeres.
The sex of the hatchlings is determined by the temperature of the nest. (One of the studies about this was done on Isla Contoy.) Males never come ashore once they enter the sea. Before nesting, females mate with multiple males, then they lay multiple times in the following months. (Mating occurs off of Punta Sur in April-May.) The mamas also make various 'false nests' without eggs, and each nest may contain some infertile eggs, often at the top. The eggs are deposited into a deep tube at the bottom of the nest, with their leathery, resilient shells protecting them from the drop. They take about two months to mature. Sea turtles have existed for more than 250 million years, since before the age of dinosaurs.
     Don Chalito info from Isla historian Fidel Villanueva Madrid. The Tortugranja notes that the statistics are influenced by the amount of assistance with surveillance and collection.

July 19-  The report for the municipality of Isla Mujeres remains unchanged with a total of 57 positives, 3 deaths and 28 recovered.
The state map reports 22 Active cases as follows: Downtown-5, Salina Chica-1, Salina Grande-2, Amplicacion la Gloria-4, Miraflores-1, Isla Blanca-1, Canotal-2, La Gloria-5, Guadalupana-1, and none on the mainland part of the municipality, hasta/up to July 17. The Incidence rate hasn't been updated since the 16th. (6.67/10k-3rd worst in the state.)

The national map for July 18 reports: 7 suspected & 35 negatives (and 57 confirmed with 3 deaths) for the municipality of Isla Mujeres.

>>"Tourists Go Home" is NOT what it means IF our region turns red under the state epidemiological traffic light. It means the capacity reduces from 30% to 15% for "Hotels, restaurants, historical sites, theme parks, golf courses, and tourism services". Churches switch to online services & Isla doesn't have any movie theaters or malls--which are the businesses required to close, as you can see from this graphic.
>>The federal traffic light is a guideline for the states, who have the authority to determine their own status. Our governor has defined tourism as an essential industry & intends it to continue under all colors.
>>The travel restrictions across the LAND border between the US & Mexico were recently renewed for the fourth time, stirring up confusion again-- this does NOT apply to air travel to/from Mexico, which hasn't been restricted by either government. Airlines reducing or discontinuing flights have affected travel--our governments have not impeded residents from returning to their homelands.
>>The graphic compares the red restrictions in the southern region with our orange status in the northern region. I share the Thursday night updates here (at ~9p) for the following Monday thru Sunday. The Governor's comment clarifies that this supersedes the federal color (red) & that our northern region remains in orange.

While the sports fields are closed, trimming and maintenance is taking place at the soccer field in Salina Chica and the baseball field, as part of the Isla Mujeres Green & Healthy program, so that they will be in optimal condition when

The Director of the municipal DIF (social service agency), Yuseli López Tec, said 60 packets were delivered to 60 single mothers and fathers on the island, and 70 kits for disinfecting and sanitizing. She said there has been goodwill from the private initiative that have joined with donations to the DIF, providing antibacterial gel, broad-spectrum sanitizer, hand shampoo, chlorine and multi-use disinfectant, which contribute to keeping homes in optimal conditions and preventing the spread of the virus.
   She said that the support tables that are installed in the island, outside the DIF facility, and,in the Continental Zone at the Center for Community Development, from Monday to Thursday, continue to work and deliver products such as bread, yogurt, vegetables and fruit to 35 people per day, which is a great help for island families.  She added, "In addition to that support, we will soon deliver white kits like towels, sheets, etc."

From the Mayor...Remember that one of the goals of wearing face masks is to prevent the transmission of viruses like Covid-19, let's be responsible and use them correctly.

To reduce the risk of transmitting or acquiring COVID-19, we must be aware and follow hygiene and healthy distance measures.

TVisla Mujeres    
VIDEO  in front of the town hall of demonstrators holding signs, whose caption says friends and family of the young woman (who was killed) marched thru the streets of Isla Mujeres to demand justice for Maria Jose. VIDEO 

   La Tertulia  

July 18--In view of the tragic events that occurred today in the morning at a home of the colonia amplicacion La Gloria, agents/officers with the Attorney General's Office of the State #FGE in conjunction with the Municipal Police are working to find those responsible for the events. We are waiting for the prosecution to provide official information. VIDEO  

July 19--Friday night a young islander lost her life as 'collateral damage' when suspects shot at a home in colonia Amplicacion la Gloria, where two others were allegdly injured. On Saturday night, gunshots were heard in the vicinity of Comex in colonia Chica Salina, and suspects were pursued by officers with the National Guard, Prosecutor's agency, and municipal police, and four people were arrested and one was released. (photos)


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"Reverse Sunset" (looking east from MVC)
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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, 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--July 4 at 7:22 (sun sets 7:33p)
  July 5      8:18 
 July 6      9:09
July 7      9:53
July 8      10:34
July 9      11:10

 Sunset  7:33-7:26pm (beginning vs end of month)
Sunrise  6:09-6:20am
Painting by Pamela Haase at MVC
Turtles continue nesting in July. 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 July, 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

Delta Aquariid meteor showers begin in mid July, peak on July 31-August 1st when there is less interference from moonlight,  and continue thru August 23rd.

Lobster fishing resumes in July, until the end of February.

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   

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