The Akumalian

Akumal's Newsletter for its Extended Global Community
Quintana Roo, Mexico

[an error occurred while processing this directive]  

November 2005 Issue 32


The last issue was distributed a little earlier than normal, because of the Mexican national holiday, Dia de la Raza, on October 12.  In our haste to make that distribution, the major holiday, Day of the Dead, slipped through the cracks, and you have our apologies for that.

Late last month, Hurricane Wilma stormed ashore and did a slow waltz across the Yucatan Peninsula, and as devastating as Wilma was, it is not being covered in this issue at all.  The reason is two-fold: the Editors were in Germany during the hurricane and prefer not to report on 2nd and 3rd hand hearsay; and quite a bit has already been written about Wilma, and it does not make too much sense to regurgitate it at this late date.  Up-to-date information on the recovery of The Riviera Maya can be found on their web site at .


            In the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, the Executive Board was very much involved with all levels of the government, including meeting with President Fox, to get help and relief for all of Akumal.  There were many meetings, and much was written in e-mails, and hopefully, there will be some summarization on the web site.  This was your Akumal Council at its best in a time of real needs for the whole community.

            The Akumal Council continues to address the post-Wilma issues, especially getting the tourists to return to the Riviera Maya, and Akumal in particular.  The Akumal Council has prepared a Post-Wilma Akumal slide presentation and Press Releases, and these will be on the web site.  The intention is that these can be sent to a wide distribution in the US to show that Akumal might have been hit hard, but Akumal is back - sounds like a good title; i.e. "Akumal is Back".

And once again, if you are in arrears on your Pledge, please bring it up-to-date, and if you are not a member of the Akumal Council, please consider becoming a member ASAP.

Check out the Akumal Council's web site at for the 2004 Annual Report, and the 2005 Business Plan.  And be advised that the next General Meeting is scheduled for Friday, December 9, at 11:00 AM at Lol-Ha.  If you are in town, you really should make an effort to attend; this should be a real good one.


The Full Beaver Moon occurs on November 15th at 7:58pm.  This is the time to set cuadimundi traps before the swamps and mangroves freeze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs for those going to Vail and/or Aspen.  Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the beavers are now actively preparing for winter.  It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon, in other parts of the world.


Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day (Nicknamed: Turkey Day [Dia del Pavo] and called El Dia de las Gracias by Spanish speaking Latinos in the U.S.), is an annual holiday celebrated inturkey much of North America, generally observed as an expression of gratitude, usually to God.  The most common view of its origin is that it was to give thanks to God for the bounty of the autumn harvest.  In the United States, the holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, the 24th this year.  In Canada, where the harvest generally ends earlier in the year, the holiday is celebrated on the second Monday in October, which is observed as Columbus Day, or protested as Indigenous Peoples Day in the United States.

Throughout history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest with thanksgiving ceremonies.  Before the establishment of formal religions many ancient farmers believed that their crops contained spirits which caused the crops to grow and die.  Many believed that these spirits would be released when the crops were harvested and they had to be destroyed or they would take revenge on the farmers who harvested them.  Some of the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits.

Harvest festivals and thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians.

 The Pilgrims and America's First Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims, who celebrated the first thanksgiving in America, were fleeing religious persecution in their native England.  In 1609 a group of Pilgrims left England for the religious freedom in Holland where they lived and prospered.  After a few years their children were speaking Dutch and had become attached to the Dutch way of life.  This worried the Pilgrims.  They considered the Dutch frivolous and their ideas a threat to their children's education and morality.

So they decided to leave Holland and travel to the New World.  Their trip was financed by a group of English investors, the Merchant Adventurers.  It was agreed that the Pilgrims would be given passage and supplies in exchange for their working for their backers for 7 years.

On Sept. 6, 1620 the Pilgrims set sail for the New World on a ship called the Mayflower. They sailed from Plymouth, England and aboard were 44 Pilgrims, who called themselves the "Saints", and 66 others, whom the Pilgrims called the "Strangers."

The long trip was cold and damp and took 65 days.  Since there was the danger of fire on the wooden ship, the food had to be eaten cold.  Many passengers became sick and one person died by the time land was sighted on November 10th.

            The long trip led to many disagreements between the "Saints" and the "Strangers".  After land was sighted a meeting was held and an agreement was worked out, called the Mayflower Compact, which guaranteed equality and unified the two groups.  They joined together and named themselves the "Pilgrims."

Although they had first sighted land off Cape Cod, they did not settle until they arrived at Plymouth, which had been named by Captain John Smith in 1614.  It was there that the Pilgrims decide to settle.  Plymouth offered an excellent harbor.  A large brook offered a resource for fish.  The Pilgrims biggest concern was attack by the local Native American Indians, but the Patuxets were a peaceful group and did not prove to be a threat.

The first winter was devastating to the Pilgrims.  The cold, snow and sleet was exceptionally heavy, interfering with the workers as they tried to construct their settlement.  March brought warmer weather and the health of the Pilgrims improved, but many had died during the long winter.  Of the 110 Pilgrims and crew who left England, less that 50 survived the first winter.

A Wampanoag native and a colonist taking a break from their workOn March 16, 1621, what was to become an important event took place, an Indian brave walked into the Plymouth settlement.  The Pilgrims were frightened until the Indian called out "Welcome" (in English!).  His name was Samoset, and he was an Abnaki Indian.  He had learned English from the captains of fishing boats that had sailed off the coast.  After staying the night, Samoset left the next day.  He soon returned with another Indian named Squanto, who spoke better English than Samoset.  Squanto told the Pilgrims of his voyages across the ocean and his visits to England and Spain.  It was in England where he had learned English.

Squanto's importance to the Pilgrims was enormous, and it can be said that they would not have survived without his help.  It was Squanto who taught the Pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap.  He taught them which plants were poisonous and which had medicinal powers.  He taught them how to plant the Indian corn by heaping the earth into low mounds with several seeds and fish in each mound.  The decaying fish fertilized the corn.  He also taught them to plant other crops with the corn.

The harvest in October was very successful, and the Pilgrims found themselves with enough food to put away for the winter.  There was corn, fruits and vegetables, fish to be packed in salt, and meat to be cured over smoky fires.  The Pilgrims had much to celebrate, they had built homes in the wilderness, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive during the long coming winter, and they were at peace with their Indian neighbors.  They had beaten the odds, and it was time to celebrate.

The First Thanksgiving, after the painting by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (1863–1930)The Pilgrim Governor, William Bradford, proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Native Americans.  They invited Squanto and the other Indians to join them in their celebration.  Their chief, Massasoit, and 90 braves came to the celebration which lasted for 3 days.  They played games, ran races, marched and played drums.  The Indians demonstrated their skills with the bow and arrow, and the Pilgrims demonstrated their musket skills.  Exactly when the festival took place is uncertain, but it is believed the celebration took place in mid-October.

The following year the Pilgrims harvest was not as bountiful, as they were still unused to growing the corn.  During the year they had also shared their stored food with newcomers and the Pilgrims ran short of food.

The 3rd year brought a spring and summer that was hot and dry with the crops dying in the fields.  Governor Bradford ordered a day of fasting and prayer, and it was soon thereafter that the rain came.  To celebrate, November 29th of that year was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving.  This date is believed to be the real true beginning of the present day Thanksgiving Day.

The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years.  During the American Revolution (late 1770's) a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress, and in 1817 New York State had adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom.  By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day.  In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving.  Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.


"The turkey is a much more respectable Bird and withal a true original Native of North America", remarked Benjamin Franklin, the scientist cum statesman, who was in favor of making the turkey the national bird, instead of the bald eagle.  That would fit the current president.



            The Latin Jazz Festival 2005 Riviera Maya will take place on November 17th, 18th and 19th in Playa del Carmen, and it will be highlighted with Ivan Lins, the Brazilian compositor who obtained the Latin Grammy Award for the best album "Singing stories". 

            A composer of delicious harmonic complexity and fascinating sense of rhythm, Lins has made himself known in Brazil and abroad for his film sound tracks, composed for many Brazilian films and soap operas.  During the last thirty years a lot of his songs have become real standards of the Brazilian music, and they have been interpreted by an endless list of artists.  In his thirty-plus year career, he has produced about 25 albums, considered sometimes the James Taylor of the Brazilian popular music. 



This past month had large number of evacuations as the tourists scrambled to get back home, and Wilma also brought numerous owners back to check on their property.  Once again, a number of comings and goings are going to be missed, but……. 


  • Steve & Ingrid Clouther returned from their trip to Massachusetts and Germany.
  • Tony & Judy James have returned.
  • Richard & Arlene Pargot are back, as well.
  • Patsy Tyler and Suzy Campbell were back at The Penthouse at The Reef.
  • Steve & Judy Holtz are in Aventuras for the month of November.
  • Arnaut & Rita Marchaud are also back in Aventuras Akumal.
  • Jim & Jackie Power were back in Jade Bay for a bit.
  • Jim & Donna were back, visiting Denny & Diane.
  • Paul Rassmussen was also back in Jade Bay, albeit without Gayle.
  • "Eddy" has arrived from Monterey to work with Rhett on their Property Management.
  • Adrian & Martha Wilkinson made a brief stop in Akumal before returning to Canada.
  • There have been reported El Moreland sightings from Akumal to Bacalar.
  • Phill & Lisa Combs return to Tankah, where they are hosting a pile of family, friends and neighbors for Sean's wedding to Christina Sieczkowski on Saturday, November 26.
  • Ryan did not come down to Casa Colibri.


  • Bud & Alice Blatner left, driving out via Palenque, Villahermosa, Tuxpan, and Brownsville.
  • Rhett Schober has left for Japan to be with Kazue and the birth of their daughter, Beniko.
  • Susan & Macon Gravlee left after an extended stay in South Akumal.
  • Gabriella Herbert heads to the states for a visit.
  • Denny & Diane Mahan leave on November29 for their extensive trip, island hopping to Hawaii, Australia (Sydney), New Zealand, and Hawaii (again).



Grandmother Isabel Schober announced that her grand daughter, Beniko Scarlett Schober, was born to Kazue & Rhett on Saturday, November 12 at 8:12pm in Japan.  At birth, Beniko weighed 3,268 grams and was 48 cm long.

            Congratulations to the growing Schober family.


Suzy Campbell, owner at The Reef Penthouse, has just been appointed to a staff position with Semester at Sea, the shipboard international education institute administered by the University of Pittsburgh.  Suzy will be Director of Housing for next summer's 65-day study tour of the Pacific Rim.  It's quite an accomplishment, and Suzy is understandably very excited by the prospect.

The primary focus of Semester at Sea is their Undergraduate study abroad Program, which is available to students seeking their first bachelor degree at any accredited college or university.  But, the Continuing Education program invites non-student and senior travelers who are interested in the Semester at Sea adventure.

The tentative summer 2006 Semester at Sea itinerary runs from June 17th to August 21st, 2006, and it departs from Vancouver, Canada and returns to Seattle, Washington, with stops in Otaru (Sapporo), Japan; Pusan, Korea; Hong Kong, China; Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam; Singapore; Taipei, Taiwan; and Kobe, Japan.

            The state of art MV Explorer will serve as a fully functional university campus that includes nine classrooms, a library with a significant collection of volumes tailored to the international academic focus of Semester at Sea, a computer lab with internet access, a student union, a campus store, two dining rooms, swimming pool, and a fitness center.  The elegantly styled ship has six passenger decks with space well suited for Semester at Sea’s academic mission.  The MV Explorer is a 24,300-ton motor vessel with a length of 590 feet, beam of 84 feet and a draft of 24 feet.  Built in 2002 by Blohm & Voss shipbuilders in Germany, it is billed as the fastest passenger ship afloat today with a cruising speed of 28 knots.

 Continuing Education

            For the continuing "senior" student who is interested in travel and study abroad, Semester at Sea is much more than just an excursion around the world; it is a truly unforgettable learning adventure.  Whether you are in retirement, a teacher, professional on leave, or simply someone who is interested in being a part of a dynamic educational environment, Semester at Sea is an investment in the future for both you and the members of the undergraduate community.

Continuing education, and global education in particular, is an increasingly essential component for understanding and living in today's world.  Our ocean-going community will provide you with unparalleled learning opportunities, new friends of all ages and a lifetime of memories.

            One of Akumal's well-known residents is seriously considering joining Suzy on this adventure as part of the Continuing Education program.

 Summer Cabin Rates

Inside Double (2 berths without porthole) $9,275, or the Outside Double (2 berths with porthole) $9,975.  Rates are per person and include tuition, room and board. Expenses related to travel to and from the ports of embarkation and debarkation, textbooks, in-country travel, personal spending and incidental fees are additional. Rates are subject to change.


            Eduardo, beloved son of Claudia Munoz, passed away on Tuesday, November 8 in Merida, after a long bout with leukemia.  Claudia, Rafael, and Isabel were there, along with Claudia's mother and sister, Eduardo's oldest brothers, Benilde and Tzutz, and some other friends, including Scott Brown. 

            Claudia and Rafael had Eduardo's body cremated, and about 250 people attended the funeral services at the Iglesia de la Colocio church in Playa del Carmen on Friday, November 11.


The sun's photosphere is often mistakenly referred to as the surface of the sun.  In reality however, the sun's photosphere is only a "liquid-like" plasma layer made of neon that covers the actual surface.  That visible layer we see with our eyes is more commonly known as penumbral filaments.   This visible neon plasma layer, as well as a thicker, deeper plasma layer of silicon, entirely covers the actual calcium ferrite surface layer of the sun.  The visible photosphere covers the transitional layer that is the surface of the sun, much like the earth's oceans cover most of the surface of the earth.

The composition and mechanical inner workings of the sun beneath the visible photosphere have remained an enigma to the scientific community for thousands of years.  In fact there are a whole host of unexplainable phenomena related to the sun's activities that still baffle gas model theorists to this day, because they simply fail to recognize the existence of an iron alloy transitional layer that rests beneath the visible photosphere.  Fortunately a host of new satellites and the field of heliosiesmology are starting to shed light on this mysterious transitional layer of the sun that is located 4,800km beneath the visible photosphere.  In addition, studies of solar wind suggest that solar wind also originates on the same transition layer under the photosphere.  NASA's SOHO satellite the the Trace satellite program have both imaged this transition layer of the sun that sits beneath the photosphere.  These 21st century satellites and technologies enable us to peer behind the outer plasma layers of the chromosphere and photosphere and allow us to study the calcium ferrite transitional layer with incredible precision.


Many Japanese golfers carry "hole-in-one" insurance, because it is traditional in Japan to share one's good luck by sending gifts to all your friends when you get an "ace."  The price for what the Japanese term an "albatross" can often reach $10,000.


  • The hyoid bone, in your throat, is the only bone in the body not attached to another bone.
  • Mice, whales, elephants, giraffes, and man all have seven neck vertebra.
  • In Disney's "Fantasia", the Sorcerer's name is "Yensid" (Disney backwards.)
  • Roger Ebert is the only film critic to have ever won the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room during a dance.
  • The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth II, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
  • Yucatan, as in the peninsula, is from Maya "u" + "u" + "uthaan," meaning "listen to how they speak," what the Maya said when they first heard the Spaniards.


A tropical depression formed in the southeast Caribbean Sea late Sunday, November 13 and could strengthen into Tropical Storm Gamma on Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.  The storm was expected to be south of Jamaica by the end of the week, over Caribbean waters still warm enough to feed a major hurricane.

At 5 p.m. ET Monday, November 14, the storm was located about 235 miles west of St. Lucia.  Its maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph and was moving west-northwest near 8 mph.  Dangerous rip currents and up to 8 inches of rain were possible across the Windward Islands, the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.  If the system becomes a tropical storm — which will happen if its maximum sustained winds reach 39 mph — it would become the 24th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, extending this year's record. 

Return to Top


[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]