News / Yucatan News: Cliff Diving, Gas and Oil

Yucatan News: Cliff Diving, Gas and Oil

Yucatan News: Cliff Diving, Gas and Oil

15 June 2010 News 3

News Starting June 07, 2010


Cliff Diving in Yucatan?
When we first heard that part of the 2010 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series would be held in Yucatan, we thought someone must have made a mistake. We live on a limestone shelf – and, for the most part, anything near water is flat as a pancake. But that's because we were thinking of some of those cliffs along the Pacific Coast. We never thought about our cenotes and surely never thought one of them would qualify for this kind of location honor. We didn't make it to the event, but our friend Josh – over at American Egypt  – attended and posted a video of the event, as well as a link to the tournament's website. We will warn you now that, if you are afraid of heights, all of these videos are heart stoppers. Congratulations to all of the participants and to 1st Place Winner Gary Hunt of Great Britain.

Scouts at Evolucion
This past weekend, two Boy Scout troups from Merida and Uman visited Evolucion  to learn more about dogs and about taking care of the environment. They had a wonderful time, bathing and playing with the dogs, as well as enjoying Silvia's talks on the environment. These children are the generation that will next inherit the Earth. What we teach them today will make all the difference in the future of the world itself. You are invited to come and participate in these same activities as volunteers. Evolution needs the extra hands and the dogs need you to give them human contact and companionship. Next month will be Evolucion's 4th Anniversary, so keep an eye on Yucatan Living's calendar. We will publish the details of the celebration as soon as they are released.


A New Priest for Chelem
Chelem and Chuburna are growing! Father Gabriel Roger Us Calvillo will take over the new parish of Nuestra Senora de la Medalla Milagrosa de Chelem sometime in July. He has been a priest for 30 years, most of which have been served in Dzidzantun. During that time, he spent 13 years in charge of the parish and served the beach communities of Santa Clara and Chabihau. This new assignment will take in both Chelem and Chuburna, as well as other communities in the area. Between Father Gabriel Us and Father Lorenzo Mex, of Progreso, look for not only increased activities in and around the churches, but in areas of opportunity for community service as well. Congratulations to Father Gabriel Us and to all who will benefit from his new assignment.

We Get By With a Little Help From and For Our Friends
Although Yucatan Living does not have a classified ads section, we do - from time to time - help out when readers are in need of something one might not easily find. For example, this week, we received the following requests and thought we would pass them on. Maybe this is just the ticket to add a little fun to a long, hot summer.

American writer in Merida is looking for several volunteers to participate in an informal reading of a new stage play. Extensive acting experience not necessary. Native English speakers or highly fluent English required. Looking for 3 women and 2 men. Email Laureen at

And Bridge...
Bridge players seeking other bridge players for a game! Anyone playing rubber or duplicate bridg, please phone Peter and Glenda in Merida at 999-160-7109 or 999-160-4685. Let's get started!

Cable TV Comes to Valladolid
Valladolid is not only getting Maya Cable TV, but they are getting their own local television channel as well! It is expected that approximately 8,000 new customers will take advantage of one of the great packages offered by Maya Cable TV. These include packages from 35 to 100 channels and options for premium and open channels as well. No news yet on prices because the company is still signing contracts, but soon they will be up and running. This is great news for the people in the Valladolid!

Pemex's Monthly Increase
On June 12, diesel went up to $8.64 pesos per litre. Magna went up to 8.28 pesos per litre, and Premium rose to $9.86 per liter. These monthly increases are to help ease the impact on working people and on those who must import products from other parts of the country. Prices go up now every month and are announced in the media so, if anyone is thinking of driving down, be sure and check to make certain you have budgeted the correct amount for gasoline on your trip.

Winning Vo-Tech Diploma: Internal Combustion
Sometimes, the person in the room who is the biggest financial winner, over a lifetime, is the one who understands mysterious things... such as plumbing, carpentry, and how to fix a car. In Yucatan, we have a number of Vocational-Technical schools. In one case, one of these schools only had three choices of study: nursing, accounting, and something called internal combustion. Yes, this is one of those little acorns and mighty oaks stories because now, there is an agreement between the school and 10 different automobile makers to open shops in Merida and for the school to train people to repair their cars.

The school has done so well that they are actually having to limit their enrollment in the program to only 40 students and they are able to choose students with the best qualifications. These students are going to work for excellent salaries in dealerships and company-owned workshops in Yucatan and in neighboring states. That's a pretty good deal for young people who originally chose to get an education in something called internal combustion only because they didn't want to be a nurse or an accountant. Our congratulations to all of these students, to their professor's vision, and to the automobile companies who have given them this opportunity.  

Tekax Drought
While most of us keep our attention on Merida and the beach, there is much to this adopted state of ours that we seldom see. What we do see is the bountiful harvest and we enjoy every luscious bite. Unfortunately, there is a problem in the southern portion of our state this year. There is a drought in full swing in the orange groves of Yucatan and 85% of the sweet orange crop is already gone. This comes on top of 2 years of failed corn crops due to extreme heat. The result is that the farmers are having to take temporary jobs elsewhere, mostly in reforestation, or they are packing up their families and moving on. This is almost unheard of coming from ejido land (but was a common Maya way of dealing with drought in the pre-Hispanic culture)! With the State entering into a period of austerity, we wish these farmers our best and hope their great need is not overlooked.

The Oil Spill and Yucatan
We have two different press releases to be considered with respect to the possibility of the oil spill reaching Yucatan. First, there is a statement that there is no threat to Yucatan at all and that it would be irresponsible to frighten the public with this issue. Second, there is a statement that, if the oil spill does come to Yucatan, it will not arrive until October or November. Depending on wind and weather, that could actually be as early as late August.

After looking at the six possible scenarios run by the University of South Florida, it looks as if the prevailing currents and winds are moving the straggling oil patches away from Yucatan. However, that is for today and we do not know what tomorrow will bring so please monitor that site closely.

While it is comforting to know that any oil that does reach this far will be diluted many many times, we still don't know what effect even the slightest amount will have on our environment and sea life. It is always better to be prepared and never use what we learn than to be faced with a crisis, no skills or equipment, and an impossible learning curve.

The Oil Spill – What Can We Do Now?
While the people of Louisiana and the U.S. Gulf Coast need help badly right now, at least some parts of the Gulf Coast of Mexico are also likely to need help before this is over. Watch your local papers and the press releases for the State of Yucatan, and be ready to go when the first call for volunteers comes. Yes – it is important to learn to clean oil from a bird, but people matter too.

Spend your donation money wisely and try to keep it in Yucatan. Support your local Food Banks, both private and church-run. Support your local animal shelters, since pets are often the first family members to feel the effects of such a tragedy. There is no way to describe what it would mean to Louisiana's victims of this oil spill if only someone would help them with one electric bill, one doctor's visit for a child, or one bag of dog food. Try to keep that in mind as you look ahead to what might be needed in Yucatan.

If all goes well and the oil never comes to Yucatan, donate part of your preparation resources to food banks and shelters for people and animals – then spend the rest on what we all hope will be the best Christmas visit Santa has ever made to the beach towns of Yucatan!

Help The Animals of The Gulf

You know us... we have a soft spot in our hearts for the animals. If you do too, here's how to help some of the animals of the hardest-hit areas along the Gulf of Mexico due to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Plaquemines Animal Rescue Society
You can help by...Adopting, Becoming a Foster Parent, Writing Grants, Undertaking Fundraising Activities, Cleaning Cages, Feeding and/or Cleaning Dogs and Cats, or Making Donations of Money, Time, or Supplies - Please do not hesitate to contact the Plaquemines Animal Rescue Society.
Phone: (504) 392-1601
Address: P.A.W.S., P.O. Box 83, Belle Chasse, LA  70037. Their physical location is: 9596 Hwy. 23 in Belle Chasse.  This is the NOLA story on the dog food sent from this Belle Chase location.

Coastal Pets Living in Other Parishes
During and after Katrina, that storm became associated, almost exclusively, with the name of the City of New Orleans. The rest of the people of Louisiana were lost and forgotten. There is every indication that this same phenomenon is currently repeating itself, with Deepwater Horizon becoming completely associated with Plaquemines Parish. While our hearts are broken for the people who depend on work in and from Plaquemines Parish, we ask that everyone to please remember to think of the pets in the other coastal parishes (see map) as well... and, after Plaquemines, in this order (click on the names to go to each animal shelter website):  

St. Bernard,
St. Mary,
Vermillion (ongoing crisis), Iberia,
and Cameron.

Editor's Note: We are lucky to have Khaki writing our news for us, who happens to be born and raised in this area of the country... and she knows it well. So if she says these are good places to donate money, she knows what she is talking about. Be generous... it WILL be appreciated!

A Gift From the Ixtoc Oil Spill
All news about the effects of the Deepwater Horizon spill need not be negative for Yucatan. Did you know that, before the Ixtoc spill, 30 years ago, there was no pulpo fishing industry in Yucatan? In many cases, there may be a quick fish kill of the first fish to encounter such pollution but the rest have time to move to cleaner water...and that's just what our pulpo did. Today, the news is all about a brand new pulpo industry – stewed and canned octopus, to be exported right here from Yucatan! Some are even considering dabbling in pulpo farming. So, don't throw in the towel just yet. While it would be tragic for us to benefit from someone else's disaster, the sea is a dynamic organism that moves and changes to protect itself in times of danger. This time, we just may get lucky with yet another gift from the sea. 

Semana Santa For Visitors and New Expats
While researching something else in a newspaper dated in April, we ran across some numbers related to one of the most interesting phenomena in all of Yucatan: Holy Week (Easter) in Progreso!

New expats move to Progreso … or Chicxulub, or Chelem... and think “Ah! This is the life. Peace at last.” ...then Spring comes, and they notice that things sure are getting awfully clean in their beach town or village. Isn't that nice? (all old expats laugh here) ...and then it happens. Semana Santa begins. In the late morning hours of the first Friday of Holy Week 2010, police counted an average of 15 to 20 vehicles per minute entering Progreso on each of several roads. By 1:00 PM, that number jumped to an average of 30 to 35 vehicles per minute entering Progreso on each of those same roads.

Within a day or so, new expats begin to suspect this influx of people and cars may continue for the duration of the week – and they are right. Yes, yes – we know. It takes constant cleaning to keep up with them all, but you have really never seen anything like it. This is also why many permanent beach residents take this opportunity to go far away on vacation every year. For one of the most amazing sites you will ever see, try to make it to the Malecon in Progreso during the next Semana Santa (April 24, 2011).

Oh, and while we’re at it, if you are planning to come to Merida for Carnival, Fat Tuesday will be on March 8, 2011, so schedule your trip for the week ending March 10, 2011.


  • CasiYucateco 7 years ago

    We've been reading that some of the biggest worries for Yucatan regard the wildlife that feed or reproduce in the marshes and mangrove swamps of Louisiana and migrate back and forth to Yucatan. This includes all four species (or is it five? think it is four) of endangered sea turtles, golden rays who migrate between the western coast of Florida and Yucatan and others.

    There are only two bluefin tuna spawning grounds in the world where these huge fish go to reproduce. One is very near the actual site of the leak. The big concern is that the fish will return, their eggs will hatch and the fish larvae will die from eating oil droplets mistaken for plankton. The dispersants being used a mile beneath the ocean are creating great plumes -- like undersea clouds -- of oil, dispersant and water. Although the concentrations are small, it may be enough to kill millions of fish larvae.

    There is now evidence that fish and birds are able to sense some of the oil and are attempting to move away from it, with thousands gathering in shallow water near the US coasts. Experts are worried that they will end up trapped there if surface water oil moves in that direction. With luck, more are moving in other directions away from the oil and not just to shore.

    Dolphins, gulls, many other forms of wildlife use the entire gulf as their home, playground and reproducing area. We hope and pray that the oil can be stopped soon and some way found to clean it up promptly. If we had a vote, we'd like the dispersants to stop being used -- many oceanographers have recommended this -- so the oil comes to the surface and can be collected or burned off, rather than blended with the water, under the surface, where it may be killing future generations of sea life, sight unseen.

  • John venator 7 years ago

    How many English USA channels will the new television cable company be offering in Valladolid?

  • Francesca Dzib 7 years ago

    Which cenote did they hold the cliff diving event? It looks like Cenote Zaci in Valladolid. Pretty cool nonetheless.

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