The Akumalian

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

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August 2006 Issue 42

INTRODUCTION

July was a very sad one for the Akumal community, as one of its fixtures, Robin Goble, quietly passed away in his sleep on July 23rd.  A fair amount of this issue is dedicated to Robin and the memory we all have of him. 
 

HURRICANE FORECASTS REVISED

            Federal forecasters slightly lower predictions for 2006 hurricane season

The 2006 Atlantic hurricane season should be slightly less active than originally predicted, but still above long-term averages, federal forecasters said Tuesday as they warned coastal residents not to let their guard down.  Forecasters now expect there to be 12-15 named storms and seven to nine hurricanes, three to four of which could be major hurricanes with sustained winds of at least 111 mph, the National Hurricane Center and other National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agencies said.

Government scientists made their first prediction in May, saying the season could produce 13-16 named storms, and eight to 10 hurricanes, four to six of which could become major.  There have been only three tropical storms and no hurricanes so far, but mid-August through October are typically the most active months of the season.

Remember, one hurricane hitting Akumal is enough to make it a bad season.

The revision follows that of forecasters at Colorado State University, who updated their forecast last week.  They reduced their storm estimate from nine hurricanes, five of them major, to seven, with three to five major ones.  The forecasters had initially called for 17 named storms, but now predict 15.

The two forecasts still would make this season busier than long-term averages, but in line with an increase in the Atlantic that started in 1995.  Federal forecasters say warmer waters, more moisture and other conditions have been responsible for that increase, which they say could last for another decade or more.

Between 1995 and 2005, the Atlantic has averaged 15 named storms, just over eight named hurricanes and four major hurricanes, according to the hurricane center.  Long-term averages are 11 named storms, six hurricanes and two major ones.

In 2005, National Hurricane Center forecasters initially predicted 12 to 15 tropical storms, with seven to nine of them becoming hurricanes, and three to five of those hurricanes being major.  The season turned out to be much worse, breaking records with 28 named storms, 15 hurricanes and seven major ones.  Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, killing more than 1,500 and wiping out parts of the Gulf Coast.

Hurricane season began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

ROBIN PHILLIP GOBLE  -   Adios

            On Sunday, July 30th, Mary Henderson, Robin's sister, hosted a 'Robin's Feliz Hora' at the Lol Ha Beach Bar, and this was preceded by a 'scattering of the ashes', from the catamaran, over different dive sites frequented by Robin.  They were wonderful events for a person we all shall miss very much.

 

                       

The "Feliz Hora" was attended by a huge gathering of the "locals" who  knew Robin, and they came from all along the Riviera Maya - Tulum to Playa del Carmen - and there also was a good contingent of people who frequent Akumal at this time of the year.

Bob Mulgrew (in English) and Claudia (in Spanish) delivered the eulogy, which is presented here in its entirety.

ROBIN PHILLIP GOBLE

November 23, 1938 - July 23, 2006

 He was known by many names: Commander, Primo, Ro-Been - a friend to all.....

Thanks for being here in this celebration of life, and what better place to share a few words, thoughts and feelings, as Robin was one of Akumal's treasures.

Robin enjoyed a full life, and we would like to share a few of the highlights.

Robin was born in Kentucky, in a small mountain town.  In growing up there, he was a choir boy, an altar boy, a paper boy, a good boy.  A football player.  A trumpet player.  A card player.

In fact, his small town was so close knit that, to this day, the kindergarten continues to hold class reunions.

After the family moved to Louisville, Robin continued with the singing and always had after school jobs.  He spent his high school summers working at a national park on an island in Lake Superior-Isle Royale.  This began Robin's love affair with the water.

After college graduation he joined the US Navy, specifically Naval Air.  He was trained at Pensacola NAS, Florida and did a tour in Hawaii.  After a career in the Navy, Robin retired with the rank of Commander.

Robin was a big–time "operations guy" for Seagram's, Old Fitz, and Miller Brewing Co.  Loving flight so much, he attained his instructor's license.

Then, unfortunately in 1976, he became another type of "operations guy" as a result of mechanical failure in the plane he was in.  Recuperation was long, but interestingly, led him to other pursuits, from playing pool, to MENSA (a high IQ society), to writing, traveling, learning to SCUBA dive, and discovering Akumal.

In the summer of 1971, Robin first came to Akumal.  Think of what he saw: no 307. no Cancun, but tons of coco palms and the Caribe.  Cozumel had 4 hotels.  The purpose of the Akumal trip was to see the pyramids of Tulum.  Robin, his ex-wife Marlene, mother Elizabeth, and sister Mary were the only people to view the site that day.

Robin never forgot that trip or Akumal, and nearly 20 years later, while traveling throughout Mexico, he returned here in September 1990.  Since that time - - - Wait a minute, let's go back.  To get to Mexico he traveled to El Paso from Louisville, then Flew to Chihuahua, on "LEO LOPEZ AIRLINES" - that in itself sounds like an adventure.  Then on to the Copper Canyon.  Shortly before this trip, there was a special seat on the train for the "adventurers" - sitting above the engine's cowcatcher.  Robin tried, but "not in service".  He continued to Hualtuco, Pto Escondido and Oaxaca where he called Mary and said he was going back to Akumal.  Robin came here, Mary joined him 10 days later, and they made plans for their future.

Since that time Robin has been one of the most enduring/endearing residents.  For many years you could set your watch by his road trips: morning dives and afternoon Hora Feliz - 2 events he seldom missed.  Robin was a dive master, an amateur astronomer, a gardener, and a reader.

He loved drinking, talking, great shirts and WOMEN - and we can remember him well by three great female loves; Panther, Pooch, and Derby.  Seldom was he without a big black dog!

Robin was intelligent, gentle, complex and had a great sense of humor-just plain fun to be around.  He had business cards printed with only 4 words:

Robin Goble
Treasure Seeker

He sought his treasure, and his treasure was Akumal, and the treasure of good friends.  We are saddened by not having Robin with us physically, but in spirit he is with us.  We know that people cannot be fully understood, only reacted to.  We will continue reacting to Robin and to the "treasure" he was for all of us.

 Adios Amigo. Amen.

  

MAYAKOBA CLASSIC, February 19 - 25, 2007

The 2007 PGA TOUR schedule announced Friday contains one new event and it is one of historic significance as the TOUR will conduct an official-money event for the first time in Mexico.

The Mayakoba Classic will be held on the Riviera Maya in the State of Quintana Roo in the resort of Playa del Carmen the week of Feb. 19-25, 2007.  The tournament will be held opposite the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship and will offer a purse of $3.5 million (U.S.).  The field will consist of 132 players, and the winner will take home $630,000.

The tournament will be contested on the 7,067-yard El Camaleon course designed by Greg Norman and managed by Fairmont Hotels and Resorts.  The par-72 layout is spread across a fascinating mix of scenery that includes jungle, dense mangrove and oceanfront holes bisected by limestone canals.

Norman said, "Mayakoba is truly a special place, and I am thrilled that it will be showcased to the world with the first-ever PGA TOUR event in Mexico.  With three distinct landscapes and a commitment to preserving the delicate ecosystem of the Yucatan, there is uniqueness to each hole.  I know it will be an enjoyable week for all the fans and a test of golf for the competitors."

The Golf Channel, the TOUR's new exclusive cable broadcast partner, will show all four days of action from the Mayakoba Classic.
 

FULL MOON, AUGUST 9th

full moonThe Full Sturgeon Moon occurred on August 9 at 9:55 AST.  The fishing tribes of Akumal are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month.  A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze..

 

PAN GARDEN STUDIO

Chris McCasland has created a web site to present his art work to a much wider audience, and the web site can be found at www.pangardenstudio.com .  Here is an excerpt from Chris's Home Page and some of his more recent watercolors.

PanGarden is a private nature retreat and sanctuary in tropical Texas, so named for the principals of Pantheism, the idea that all of nature is sacred.  From every plant, rock, leaf, to every insect, nature is honored and celebrated here.  All creatures are safe from the ignorance and cruelty of the world. 

Here also is my studio, the PanGarden Studio.  The main focus of my work is decorative art, funerary art, and art that promotes kindness to animals.  My art is a reflection of my Pantheistic philosophy, dedicated to promoting respect for all of nature.  The creed: "Respect the living, Honor the dead, Be kind to animals."  PanGarden is also a retirement home for a limited number of very lucky cats.

 

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH

 

 

 

 

 

 

PUERTO AVENTURAS HIGHWAY INTERSECTION

Field Report by Scott Brown on a message from Donna Carey, Restaurant Tiramisu.

 On Wednesday, August 9th, in front of Puerto Aventuras, there was another fatality.  A young 25 year old mother was killed, as she had an accident with a taxi cab.  Her family began blocking the highway with rocks.  Other people joined in and soon there were hundreds of locals blocking the highway, refusing to move until the government did something.  The police came dressed in riot gear but armed with an attitude that they wanted to protect the people blocking the highway.  At a certain point, the police negotiated with the group of civil disobedients and persuaded them to open one lane of the highway.  It was all done calmly, and yet the locals were firm in their conviction that they were not leaving until something was done.

Carlos Joaquin, the President of the Municipality was there as well.  He said he had three traffic lights in storage in Playa del Carmen, but that the Federal Government had to give their approval.  Obviously, he gained their approval, because soon after he announced to the people that work on topes and traffic lights would begin at 10am.  The people said great!  Then we will block the highway until 10am.  They say the traffic was backed up to Cancun.

So at 9pm, workers began installing topes.  Today they continued work building topes like they have in Puerto Morelos.  They say the traffic lights will be installed within a week.  It is a bit of a mess with lots of police officers and construction workers around, but at least there is hope for a safer future for the more than a 1,000 people who must cross that road at least twice a day.

It was about one year ago when the Puerto Aventuras residents signed petitions asking for the government to install a traffic light and speed bumps (topes).  Through the maze of government offices, we learned that the highway was under Federal Jurisdiction, and we have been stymied.  In this past year, three more people have died.  Could we have prevented these deaths if we were more civilly disobedient, earlier.  I don't know.  However, as a community, I feel we have a moral responsibility for the children who will grow up without parents because of these tragedies.  We are all building a new reality here.  Let's make it safe and happy for everyone.

I have spoken with Fred DeVos whom many of you know as the Administrator of the EduCenter in the Poblado.  He has lived here for many years and has done wonders with the education system in the Poblado.  I hold him in the highest esteem and have asked him to administer a funding program for the children and families that have been affected by these senseless accidents.  In total there have been more than 60 people killed in front of our door.  Fred is now compiling a list of those affected and I am asking you to make a donation.

I will have a lockbox at Tiramisu where you can make a donation in person.  We are open Tuesday - Sunday from 8am - 11pm and on Mondays from 3pm - 11pm.

 EDITOR'S NOTE: They are building two huge topes across the highway, at the intersection to the Poblado, and this is currently playing havoc with the traffic.  As of Friday, August 11, the traffic on both sides of the construction was backed up considerably, and the north-bound created the most bizarre thing ever seen on the highway.  Just prior to the construction site, the traffic going north was THREE LANES WIDE!!  A flatbed truck carrying a huge piece of road construction equipment was totally in the south-bound lane, and the south-bound traffic had to squeeze by on the shoulder, and larger vehicles, like trucks and buses, had to even go off the shoulder!!  Then, taxis and vans – some cares and trucks – were using the sacabe-packed section for the new highway lanes on the right.  This added at least another half hour to the drive to Playa del Carmen.
 

COMINGS AND GOINGS

            This is supposed to be low season, or at least shoulder season, but with all the local "comings and goings", to say nothing of all the tourists and guests in Akumal, it has been difficult finding a parking spot at the Beach Bar.  It’s August!!

 Comings:

  • Dan & Sam Stephens were reportedly in town in mid-July.
  • Lydia Pontius was back in Akumal for another brief visit.
  • There also was a Kendal Inman sighting at La Cueva de Pescadora.
  • Field reports say Janet Bouten was back in South Akumal.
  • Jim Farrell & Kathy Sonheim Farrell were back and about for awhile.
  • Frank & Lennie were back at Casa del Sol with their grandson.
  • Barbara Miller and daughters, Lindsay and Annie, are back in Luna Azul.
  • The "girls",Ellie & Katie, were also here with mom & dad, Paula & Neil Humphrey.
  • Bob Mulgrew is back in town.
  • Didier Jackson has also returned to Akumal.
  • Bart & Jen Smith are back at Turtle Bay Cafe & Bakery from their trip to California.
  • Scott & Dani Brown are back at Sac-Be after a short trip to the states.
  • Shelley Cope is back after her vacation up north.
  • Oveta Vardell and Donna were in South Akumal for a bit.
  • Cheryl & Patrick Ragan were back again and did an anniversary trip to Holbox.
  • Terry Turner was in town for a short spell.
  • Gene & Mary Ellen Langan were back in South Akumal, as well.
  • Peter & Lois Raap are in South Akumal with their family.
  • Sydney Reagan was at Robin's Feliz Hora.
  • Blake & Anna Simons are scheduled to arrive back in town soon.
  • Corey Pondgrastt is back in town.
  • Hurley Hackler continues to frequent the Beach Bar on Fridays.
  • Don Papa is back in Akumal for a very short visit. (Got it right this time.)
  • Leslie Brewer is here for the weekend.

 Goings:

  • Bud Blatner has joined Alice in Philadelphia, then they go on their west coast trip.
  •  

COMING SOON - VIPS

Ground has been broken for the construction of a VIPS restaurant just north of the Sam's Club parking lot in Playa del Carmen.

 

AGC CHECKS OUT EL CAMALEON

Earlier this month, members of the AGC (Akumal Golf Club) checked out El Camaleon in preparation for its initial hosting of the PGA Mayakoba Classic in February 2007.  Representing the AGC were Gabriella Herbert, Bart Smith, Didiere Jackson, and Steve Clouther.

The course is quite challenging, with lots of sand and water: Mayakoba is lined with canals and cenotes (natural subterranean caves).  Some of the fairways are quite wide, and others tend to be somewhat narrow.  Some of the par 3s will be challenging to the PGA pros, only because of how short they are.

Water comes into play on all but three holes, and four cenotes also come into play.  There are two breathtaking seaside holes.

The golf carts have GPS, and the system is set up to warn the driver about going into cenotes or off ravines.  Like other golf-related GPS, it also tells you the distances to the green, traps, hazards, etc, but there was one member who just did not believe the distances given off by the GPS.

The GPS also provides little tidbits about how to play the hole and how to play the natural lay of the land.  On one hole, the instructions were somewhat humorous: "Keep your drive to the left of the bridge".  There was an obvious wide open fairway to the left of the bridge and nothing but mangroves to the right of the bridge.

All in all, three quarters of the team played quite well, and SteveC gave new meaning to "in the playa" (a reference to landing in a sand trap) when he actually went out onto the beach on one of those 'breathtaking seaside holes", a par 3.
  

WHAT WAS HE THINKING......?

Jockey Paul O'Neill

Paul O'Neill and City AffairOn July 23, Jockey Paul O'Neill, who was caught on camera head-butting his horse, has apologized for his "stupid mistake".  Horseracing fans watched with disbelief at O'Neill's Zinedine Zidane-like reaction to being dislodged by his mount City Affair at Stratford on Sunday.

The 26-year-old Irishman, who now faces a ban, had endured a torrid time getting City Affair to the start of the selling hurdle.  The fractious hurdler shied and dislodged him as they veered towards the starter's car.  As O'Neill grabbed the reins, he butted the horse.

"It was a stupid mistake and I apologize to the public," said O'Neill. "It took me five minutes to get the horse to the start, and he was reluctant to join the others.  He unseated me and I twisted my knee as I held on to him.  I was in shock as he was diving towards the starter's car."

 Floyd Landis
American Floyd Landis' remarkable comeback win at the 2006 Tour de France on Sunday may have been tainted by illegal doping.  On Sunday, July23, American Floyd Landis stood at the top of the Tour de France podium in Paris, his champion's yellow jersey shining in the late-afternoon sun on the Champs Elysees.

Less than a week later, the son of Pennsylvania Mennonites is fighting for his professional life, and cycling - the drug-plagued sport for which he had just become the symbol of a rebirth - was reeling again.  Landis' Swiss-based Phonak team revealed that its star had failed an initial doping test for high levels of testosterone and could be stripped of cycling's most prestigious title.

Landis still could be cleared: The first half of the urine sample he gave last week after the 17th stage of the 20-stage, 2,272-mile race - called an "A" sample - was positive, but he can't be sanctioned unless the remaining sample also tests positive.

The second or "B" sample, "confirmed the result of an adverse analytical finding" in last week's "A" sample, the International Cycling Union said.  He was also fired from his Phonak professional cycling team and will face a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency disciplinary hearing in three weeks that could result in a two-year suspension from racing.  Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said Landis no longer was considered champion, but the decision to strip him of his title rests with the International Cycling Union.
 

PERSEID METEOR SHOWER

Image: 2005 PerseidsThe Perseids are already around, having been active only in a very weak and scattered form since around July 17.  But a noticeable upswing in Perseid activity is expected to begin during the second week of August, leading up to their peak night on August 12.  They are typically fast, bright and occasionally leave persistent trains.  And every once in a while, a Perseid fireball will blaze forth, bright enough to be quite spectacular and more than capable to attract attention even in bright moonlight.

There's bad news and good news about this year's Perseid meteor shower, which is traditionally regarded as the highlight of summer skywatching.

First, the bad news: When the shooting stars reach their peak this weekend, the moon is in just about the worst possible location. It's just a couple of days past its full phase, meaning that the moon's bright disk will be glaring down like a cosmic headlight almost all night long.

The good news is that the shooting stars reach their peak this weekend - which gives you an opportunity to get far away from city lights, stay up until the wee hours, see what meteors you can, and still recuperate in time for the work week.

 

A BLISS(FUL) 10TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY PARTY

On Saturday, August 12, Dave & Michele Bliss hosted a 10th Anniversary party at Turtle Bay Cafe.  Music was provide by the group Ivan plays with, and a good time was had by all, especially the contingent from Luna Azul, who had a MMMMMaaahh-vvelllouss time from their boisterous entrance to the last set, where Bill McClendon took over the reins of a guitar.

Unfortunately, due to the schedule set by the publisher - none of that "Hold the presses." - we are going to distribution without any of the fantabulous pictures from the event itself.  But, Michele just happened to have some pictures with her at the party, and we have them here.  Do you recognize them from ten years ago?
  

SEARS - "PROXIMENTE"

            The Sears' store in Plaza Las Americas looks like it should be opening real soon, as the interior looks about ready, and there are "Proximente" signs prominently displayed.
  

COMING SOON TO THE AKUMALIAN

            Patrick & Cheryl Ragan recently visited Isla Holbox for their 15th wedding anniversary, and their objective was, "to get up close and personal with the whale sharks".  Cheryl wrote a comprehensive Trip Report for The Akumalian.  Unfortunately, The Akumalian is about to go to press, so there is no time to do the story justice for this issue.  Watch for it in the September issue

 

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