The Akumalian

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

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October B 2006 Issue 46       


The Akumalian keeps coming across more and more interesting information and stories that should/could be of interest to its readers, so we now have a second issue in October.  All of the stories and information may not be of particular interest to all the subscribers, but you have to bear with the verbosity The Akumalian has taken on in the last couple of months.  One of these days, maybe months, the web site for The Akumalian will be populated and ready to go.  In the meantime, here is October B.

There is one long article in this issue on hurricanes, and there’s 2-pager in the Ig Noble Awards.



SunFull Beaver Moon – November 5 - This was the time to set agoudi traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation suggests that the name Full Beaver Moon comes from the fact that the agoudi are now actively preparing for winter.  It is sometimes also referred to as the Frosty Moon.



Sac-Be header graphicScott & Dani Brown have launched the SAC-BE web site at and it is worth a look see.  From a first glance, it looks like a very comprehensive site covering “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Akumal and the Riviera Maya, but Were Afraid to Ask.”

Congratulations, Scott & Dani



The MMCinemas, with nine, screens, is now open in the Centro Maya mall across Highway 307 from Hospiten in Playa Del Carmen.  The theatres have reclining seats, and the projection and sound is all digital.  Tickets cost $40 pesos and are $30 pesos before 3:00PM.  Check out the web site at to see what is currently playing.





IgNobel Award!On Thursday, October 5th, the “16th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony,” attracted over 1,200 people to Sanders Theater at Harvard University, as genuine Nobel Laureates, Ig Nobel recipients, and other “ignitaries” participated in this year’s ceremony honoring achievements that “make people laugh, and then make them think.”

The name is a play on the word "ignoble" and the name "Nobel" after "Alfred Nobel".  The official pronunciation used during the ceremony is "ig no-BELL".  It is not pronounced like the word "ig-noble" — but this distinction eludes many people.

Unlike the recipients of the more illustrious awards, Ig Nobel winners get no cash reward.

The winners are given one minute to deliver their acceptance speech, with the time limit strictly policed by an outspoken eight-year-old girl. 

The evening traditionally involves members of the audience throwing paper aeroplanes at the stage while Harvard professor Roy Glauber dutifully sweeps up, as he has done for the last 10 years.  Glauber insisted on retaining his sweeping duties for the 16th annual ceremony this year, regardless of the fact he becoming a Nobel physics laureate in 2005.

Despite the ceremony's irreverent tone, the awards are taken increasingly seriously in the scientific community, with eight of the 10 winners this year paying their own way to attend the ceremony.

Literature winner Daniel Oppenheimer won for his report “Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly.”

Oppenheimer’s short acceptance speech showed he had clearly learned from his findings.  “My research shows conciseness is interpreted as intelligence,” Oppenheimer said. “So thank you.”

Between live “moments of science” demonstrations, a “Win-A-Date-With-a-Nobel-Laureate” contest, and a new mini-opera entitled “Inertia Makes the World Go Round,” the ceremony found time to recognize past Ig Nobel celebrities.

2003 winner C.W. Moeliker, who documented the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck, was on hand along with Lisa R. Danielson and William L. Sefanov who were married at the 2001 complexity-themed Ig Nobels.

Other former winners at the ceremony were Don Featherstone, creator of the plastic pink flamingo, and Stefano Ghirlanda, co-author of the study "Chickens Prefer Beautiful Humans."

This year’s winners were just as interesting — and some just as questionable. Ivan R. Schwab, the first winner of the night, received the prize for Ornithology for explaining why woodpeckers never have headaches.

The winners of the Acoustics prize, D. Lynn Halpern, Randolph Blake, and James Hillenbrand, were applauded for their experiments on why humans cannot stand the sound of fingernails scraping on a chalkboard.  Apparently, the sounds are cringe-inducing not because of their high frequency, but because they resemble primitive animal warning noises.  Following the acceptance speech for this prize was a rather painful demonstration of their experiment.

Francis M. Fesmire, from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, won the prize in Medicine for his discovery of a most unusual way to stop hiccups, reported in his “Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage.”  Fesmire, who declared that he was “honored to be the first person ever to terminate” hiccups this way, distributed free samples of latex gloves and lubrication after the ceremony.

The prize in Mathematics was awarded to Nic Svenson and Piers Barnes of Australia for calculating the number of photographs necessary to almost ensure that no one in a group photo will have their eyes closed.  The formula instructs photographers to divide the number of people in the picture by two if the lighting is poor and by three if it is good.

The prize in Peace went to Howard Stapleton for inventing a teenager repellent, an electronic device that makes annoying noise designed to be audible to teenagers but not adults. 

His device, called the Mosquito, emits a high frequency siren-like noise that is painful to the ears of teens and those in their early 20s, but inaudible to adults.  The invention grew out of his 15-year-old daughter's trip to the local store last year to buy milk.  She came back empty-handed, having been intimidated by a group of teenage boys loitering outside the store.

Stapleton, who has sold and installed security systems for more than two decades, thought back to when he was 12 years old and he visited his father at work. 

"I walked into this room with six people doing ultrasonic welding, and immediately ran right back out again the noise was so painful," Stapleton said. "I asked an adult, 'What's that noise.' And he said, 'What noise?'"

Stapleton's company, Compound Security Systems of Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, has sold hundreds of the units to retailers, local governments, police departments and homeowners all over the United Kingdom.  The company is shipping its first Mosquito units for sale in the United States next week.  "The success of this has knocked my socks off," Stapleton said.

The same technology is used to make telephone ringtones audible to teens, but not teachers.

Other winners included:

Physics - Basile Audoly and Sebastien Neukirch, for their insights into why dry spaghetti often breaks into more than two pieces when bent.

Chemistry - Antonio Mulet, Jose Javier Benedito, Jose Bon and Carmen Rossello, for their study "Ultrasonic Velocity in Cheddar Cheese as Affected by Temperature."

Biology - Bart Knols and Ruurd de Jong, for showing that female malaria mosquitoes are attracted equally to the smell of Limburger cheese and to the smell of human feet.

Literature - Daniel Oppenheimer, for his report "Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly."

In addition to the awards, other highlights of the ceremony were the 24/7 Lectures, which included MIT Professor Missy L. Cummings and Nobel Laureate Frank Wilczek, also from MIT. Cummings’ seven-word or less speech, following her 24-second technical lecture, was on the topic of automobile safety: “Don’t talk. Don’t e-mail. Just drive.”

Wilczek, who won the Physics Nobel in 2004, had to lecture on the topic of dark matter.  His explanation? “What you see isn’t what you get.”

The tradition of throwing paper airplanes onto the stage continued this year; in fact, it was also done en masse, as buckets of the airplanes were dumped from the ceiling of the hall whenever a prize was awarded.  Paper airplanes were freely thrown, even though a projector screen before the audience kindly requested them to cease and desist from unleashing paper projectiles, a ploy of reverse psychology, no doubt.



            Who comes up with these things?  Some Marketing Manager at Hallmark Cards?

National Boss Day is always Oct. 16.  In 2006, it falls on a Monday.

Boss Day CardNational Boss Day offers employees an opportunity to recognize those in supervisory positions.  Popular ways to say “thanks” include cards, a department lunch, a “goodie” break, flowers or gifts.  Hallmark (There, see I told you!!) offers 47 Boss’s Day cards.  Many express appreciation for the ways bosses manage people, respect for their handling tough workloads, and gratitude for the coaching they provide.  The cards range from professional to humorous.

National Boss Day began in 1958 when Patricia Bays Haroski, then an employee at State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Ill., registered the holiday with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  Ms. Haroski wanted to designate a day to show her appreciation for her boss and others in that role.  She also hoped to improve the relationship between employees and supervisors. She believed young employees often do not realize the challenges managers face.  Ms. Haroski chose Oct. 16, her father’s birthday, as the date for National Boss Day, because she felt he was an exemplary boss.

National Boss Day has become an international celebration in recent years and now is observed in countries such as England, Australia and South Africa.

Hallmark first made National Boss Day cards in 1979.  The holiday has been the source of some controversy and criticism in the United States, where it is often mocked as a Hallmark Holiday.



Daylight Saving Time began for most of Akumal and the United States at 2:00 a.m. on the first Sunday of April, and time reverts to standard time at 2:00 a.m. on the last Sunday of October.  In the U.S., each time zone switches at a different time.  In Akumal, all the areas will switch simultaneously at 2:00 a.m.

In the European Union, Summer Time began and ends at 1:00 a.m. Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time).  It begins the last Sunday in March and ends the last Sunday in October.  In the EU, all time zones change at the same moment.

U.S. Date Change - On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  This Act changed the time change dates for Daylight Saving Time in the U.S.  Beginning in 2007, DST will begin on the second Sunday of March and end the first Sunday of November.  The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress.  Congress retains the right to revert the Daylight Saving Time back to the 2005 time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.




            A Cancun weather site reports elevation at 23 feet / 7 meters.




Halloween is an observance celebrated on the night of October 31, most notably by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets.  It is celebrated in much of the Western world, though most common in Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and with increasing popularity in Australia and New Zealand.  Halloween originated in Ireland as the pagan Celtic harvest festival, Samhain.  Irish, Scots and other immigrants brought older versions of the tradition to North America in the 19th century.  Most other Western countries have embraced Halloween as a part of American pop culture in the late 20th century.

The term Halloween, and its older spelling Hallowe'en, is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the evening before "All Hallows' Day" (also known as "All Saints' Day").  In Ireland, the name was All Hallows' Eve (often shortened to Hallow Eve), and though seldomly used today, it is still a well accepted label.  Halloween was also sometimes called All Saints' Eve.  The holiday was a day of religious festivities in Halloweenvarious northern European pagan traditions, until it was appropriated by Christian missionaries and given a Christian interpretation.  Halloween is also called Pooky Night in some parts of Ireland, presumably named after the púca, a mischievous spirit.

Halloween is sometimes associated with the occult.  Many European cultural traditions hold that Halloween is one of the liminal times of the year when the spiritual world can make contact with the physical world and when magic is most potent (e.g. Catalan mythology about witches).




According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the great majority of injuries during a hurricane are caused by flying glass from broken windows or other debris.  With hurricane season fully underway (almost over now), home and building owners can be even more prepared by using 3M Ultra Safety and Security Window Film, which helps hold glass in place during destructive weather conditions.

3M Ultra Safety and Security Window Film is a strong, tear resistant and clear window film that improves the durability of windows.  The advanced adhesive materials used in constructing the window film help keep shards of glass in place after a window shatters.  This helps prevent broken glass from flying throughout the home or building and causing serious bodily injury.

The superior performance of 3M Ultra Safety and Security films is due to its combination of flexibility and toughness.  Instead of tearing under acute pressure, the polymer film stretches and expands when faced with situations such as high winds, flying debris, or even bomb blasts.  This flexibility helps keep the glass in place after breakage and can help prevent wind, water and debris from entering the home and destroying valuable belongings.

On the website (see below) there is a video showing the difference this makes from an actual bomb blast test!

For more information, and assistance in locating a 3M window film dealer, please visit  or call 1-866-499-8857.


The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos, Día de los Difuntos or Día de Muertos in Spanish) is an ancient Aztec celebration of the memory of deceased ancestors that is celebrated on November 1 (All Saints Day) and November 2 (All Souls).  The holiday is especially popular in Mexico where it is a national holiday, and is celebrated in the Philippines, in Mexican-American communities in the United States, and to a lesser extent, in other Latin American countries.  It is a public holiday in Brazil, where many Brazilians celebrate it by visiting cemeteries and churches, bringing flowers, lighting candles and praying.

Mayan dancers from GuatemalaThe souls of children are believed to return first on November 1, with adult spirits following on November 2.

Despite the morbid subject matter, Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead joyfully, and though it occurs at the same time as Halloween, All Saints' Day and All Souls Day, the traditional mood is much brighter with emphasis on celebrating and honoring the lives of the deceased, rather than fearing evil or malevolent spirits.

The Latin American origins of The Day of the Dead can be traced back to the indigenous peoples of the Americas, namely the Aztecs, Mayans, Purepechas, and Totonacs.  Rituals celebrating the lives of dead ancestors had been performed by these Mesoamerican civilizations for at least 3000 years.  It was common practice to keep skulls as trophies and display them during rituals to symbolize death and rebirth.

            The festival which was to become 'Día de Muertos' fell on the ninth month of the Aztec Solar Calendar, near the start of August, and was celebrated for the entire month.  Festivities were presided over by the goddess Mictecacihuatl, known as the "Lady of the Dead".  The festivities were dedicated to the celebration of children and the lives of dead relatives.  The Aztec tradition included the making of bread in the shape of a person which is perhaps the origin of the pan de muerto.

When the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in America in the 15th century, they were appalled at the indigenous pagan practices, and in an attempt to convert the locals to Roman Catholicism moved the popular festival to the beginning of November to coincide with the Catholic All Saints Day (when saints are honored) and All Souls (day of observance and prayer for the dead and those souls in purgatory) days.  All Saints' Day is the day after Halloween, which was based on the ancient pagan ritual of Samhain, the Celtic day and feast of the dead.  The Spanish combined their custom of All Souls' Day with the similar Mesoamerican festival, creating the Día de lo Muertos, "The Day of the Dead".  This is an example of syncretism or the blending of a significant event from two different cultural traditions.  Indigenous people of the Americas often would outwardly adopt the European rituals, while maintaining their original native beliefs.

A common symbol of the holiday is the skull (colloquially called calavera), which celebrants represent in masks, called calacas (colloquial term for "skeleton"), and foods such as Candy Skulls, which are inscribed with the name of the recipient on the forehead.  Other holiday foods include pan de muerto (or "bread of the dead"), a sweet egg bread made in various shapes, from plain rounds to skulls and rabbits often decorated with white frosting to look like twisted bones.




Did you know….?

X marks the spot: Johnny Depp's reprisal of his role as quirky Captain Jack Sparrow has been a box office bonanza.

How big is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, I hear you ask?  In addition to buoying the summer box office, it helped propel 2006 ahead of 2005 overall. 

With a North American box office take of $418.4 million, it's the biggest movie of 2006 and the sixth-biggest ever in North America.

Worldwide, Pirates has $1 billion in ticket sales.  Only two other movies have surpassed that, 1997's Titanic and 2003's The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

The Dead Man's Chest DVD will come out in both a single-disc edition ($30) and a two-disc collector's edition ($35).  Both DVDs have bloopers and commentary from writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, who also are writing the upcoming movie.

The collector's edition also comes with 10 featurettes, including a profile on Depp, an inside look at the movie's premiere on Disneyland's Main Street, a photo diary from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, a feature on how Disneyland's popular Pirates of the Caribbean attraction became the basis for a movie and an extensive making-of documentary.  For the making-of featurette, a documentary filmmaker followed them around during the prep work, and you'll see things that went wrong, as well as the joy of the first day of filming, which is really nice.

The third chapter of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, At World's End, is eight months away from theaters.  That's a long time to wait to find out how Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow escapes the jaws of the kraken.



Election Day in the United States is the day when polls most often open for the election of certain public officials.  Election Day occurs on the Tuesday following the first Monday of November every year, which is always the Tuesday between November 2 and November 8, inclusively.

            This rule was instituted by the U.S. Congress in 1845, and the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November was chosen to keep the election day from falling on November 1, All Saints' Day, a Holy Day of Obligation for Roman Catholics.  Tuesday was chosen to allow voters one day to travel to their polling place, as most residents at the time could not travel on Sunday because of church.  The month of November was chosen because it was after the crops were harvested.



In 1921, an American Soldier-his name "known but to God" was buried on a Virginia hillside overlooking the Potomac River and the city of Washington.  The Arlington National Cemetery burial site of this unknown World War I soldier became the personification of dignity and reverence for America's veterans.  Similar ceremonies occurred earlier in England and France where an "unknown soldier" was buried in each nation's highest place of honor (in England, Westminster Abbey; in France, the Arc de Triomphe).

These memorial gestures all took place on November 11, giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I hostilities at 11a.m., November 11, 1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11month).  The day became known as "Armistice Day."

Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a Congressional resolution.  It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar Congressional action.

If the idealistic hope had been realized that World War I was "The War to end all wars," November 11 might still be called Armistice Day.  But shortly after the holiday was proclaimed, World War II broke out in Europe and shattered the dream.  Sixteen and one-half million Americans took part.  Four hundred and six thousand died.  The families and friends of these dead longed for a way to honor their memory.

An answer to the dilemma of how to pay tribute to those who had served in the latest, great war came in a proposal made by Representative Edwin K. Rees of Kansas: Change Armistice Day to Veterans Day, and make this an occasion to honor those who have served America in all wars.

President Eisenhower, in 1954, signed the bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day, and he called for Americans everywhere to rededicate themselves to the cause of peace.

On May 30, 1958, two more unidentified American war dead were brought to Arlington Cemetery from overseas and interred in the plaza beside their Comrade of World War I.  One was killed in World War II, the other in Korea.  A law passed in 1973 provided for the interment of an unknown American who lost his life in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era.  For several years no qualifying remains were discovered so a memorial plaque was placed in the Amphitheater's Memorial Display Room.  On Memorial Day 1984, however, the Unknown Serviceman from that conflict was placed "In Honored Glory" alongside his fellow countrymen. 



            It is the middle of October, and the traffic seems to have slowed down considerably, finally.


  • Lisa Combs is back for another short site visit in Tankah.
  • Oveta Vardel visited in South Akumal again, albeit very briefly.
  • Terry Turner was also back in South Akumal.
  • Wendell & Lynda Day are back – did they ever leave – Aventuras Akumal.
  • Bud Blatner is back for a quick 2-week visit.


  • Denny & Diane Mahan are back in the states again, playing fabulous golf and shopping.
  • Mary Henderson still has not left for Sacramento, but she is going on the 24th.



Here’s another one of those subjects that came up at a recent dinner in South Akumal.  “What’s the origin of bananas being bad luck on board fishing boats?”

Bananas are a mainstay of many cultures and are the world’s most popular fruit.  However, these deliciously yellow treats have no place at sea.  Since the 1700’s, it has been widely believed that having a banana on board was an omen of disaster.

BananasIn years past, worldwide maritime superstitions have led some to believe that the banana at sea can be detrimental to life and property.  Today, and the most of the latter part of the twentieth century they are just considered bad luck.  This superstition is carried on mostly by marlin fishermen who believe that a banana on board will jinx the vessel and anything that could go wrong will go wrong.  From Boston to the south end of South America, Australia westward to Kona, Hawaii, talk with any of these fishermen and you will find that bananas are not allowed on their boats.

What facts do we have to substantiate these superstitions?  Back in the early 1700’s, when the Spanish would travel throughout the South Atlantic and Caribbean trading goods, it is believed, that a good number of those boats that did not return home had bananas in their cargo.  The Spaniards would sail around the Caribbean trading for whatever the queen might want, or what might bring them a handsome price back home, with their final stop being in Cuba.  Here they would load up with bananas, head north out of Havana, pick up the Gulf stream in the Florida Straits to aid in getting home.  The boats that did not make it were supposedly carrying our little yellow friends.

A Spanish galleonPrior to making their voyage home, these galleons would meet up in Havana, after trading in Port Abello and Cartegena, and sail home in numbers for protection from the elements and pirates.  On July 13, 1733, Friday the thirteenth, 21 registered ships met in Havana, along with an undetermined number of other ships, and headed north to the keys.  While underway they were hit head on by a hurricane.  Most of the ships survived the first part of the storm, but then got caught up in its backside and ran aground on our reefs.  Although it is not known if these ships were carrying bananas, it would seem entirely possible since their last stop was in Cuba.  Only one ship returned to Spain and the rest were salvaged for parts and cargo at a later date.  Traces of these ships were found by Mr. Art McKee and can be seen at his museum in Plantation Key.  The San Pedro, a ship from this fleet, is now an underwater state park, and can be found off Indian Key.

In 1715 another fleet of 12 left Havana and made their way into the Gulf Stream.  This fleet consisted of 5 ships from South America, 5 ships from Mexico, a Cuban and a French ship.  They got as far north as Vero Beach and were hit hard by a passing hurricane.  These ships have been found stretching from Sebastian Inlet to Fort Pierce.  Again, it is not known if these ships were carrying bananas, but we would like to believe so.

Although there is no hard documented proof that the banana is bad luck, it is a very viable superstition that many Captains live by.  In today’s world most superstitions can be used as a form of entertainments amongst friends.  There are those that believe in all sorts of different superstitions, and who is to say they are not founded? 

Another explanation for the banana superstition is that the fastest sailing ships used to carry bananas from the tropics to U.S. ports along the East Coast to land the bananas before they could spoil.  The banana boats were so fast that fishermen never caught anything while trolling for fish from them, and that’s where the superstition got started.

Another theory is that bananas carried aboard slave ships fermented and gave off methane gas, which would be trapped below deck.  Anyone in the hold, including cargoes of imprisoned humanity, would succumb to the poisoned air, and anyone trying to climb down into the hold to help them would fall prey to the dangerous gas.

male black widow spider pictureAnd finally, one of the better known dangers of bananas at sea, is that a species of spider with a lethal bite likes to hide in bunches of bananas.  Crewmen suddenly dying of spider bites after bananas are brought aboard certainly would be considered a bad omen resulting in the cargo being tossed into the sea.

Any of these scenarios could be the reason behind fishermen’s mistrust of the yellow fruit, possibly all of them.  Whatever the case may be, it is best that you don’t attempt to bring any bananas on board your next seafaring excursion, just to be safe.   Does this include a Rhine River cruise?



            First off, bananas originated in Malaysia some 4000 years ago. They made their way to the Americas by successful abecedarian sea voyages from southeast Asia to Africa and thence to the Americas. They weren't shipped commercially before the end of the 19th Century. Not until 1870 did one of the earliest banana pioneers, Captain Lorenzo Dow Baker, purchase 160 bunches of bananas in Jamaica and swiftly sail them to Jersey City in 11 days, where he sold them for a profit. Then, in 1899, Baker and his partners began shipping and distributing this extremely perishable fruit throughout the USA, thanks to innovations like painting ships white to reflect the tropical sun. The Great White Fleet, as it was called, soon had refrigerated vessels and low oxygen containers to arrest ripening.  The Banana Republic was underway.

abecedarian = 1 a : of or relating to the alphabet          b : alphabetically arranged



United Nations Day is celebrated internationally on 24 October for the purpose of informing the people of the world as to the aims, purposes, and achievements of the UN.  It commemorates the coming into being of the United Nations Organization on that day in 1945 when the UN Charter was ratified by all permanent members of the security council and more than half of the signatories.  The day is part of the United Nations Week, October 20-26.

The Charter of the United Nations went into effect on October 24, 1945. At that time its ultimate purpose was "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war" but now it also helps nations with education, disease, hunger and poverty.

In 1947, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a U.S. sponsored resolution that declared October 24th as United Nations Day.



Around this time of the year, conversations tend to migrate to “hurricanes”, but over the years, sometimes months, our memories become fuzzy, and events cannot be precisely pinpointed any more.  So, to bring us all up-to-date on some of the major hurricanes that have affect our tranquil Akumal Bay, we revisited some of those storms.  Here’s the “rest of the story.”


Most intense Atlantic hurricanes
Intensity is measured solely by central pressure




Min. pressure




882 mbar (hPa)




888 mbar (hPa)


"Labor Day"


892 mbar (hPa)




895 mbar (hPa)




899 mbar (hPa)




902 mbar (hPa)




905 mbar (hPa)



905 mbar (hPa)




910 mbar (hPa)




914 mbar (hPa)

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce


Hurricane Wilma was the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.  It devastated parts of the Yucatán Peninsula and southern Florida during October in the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.  Wilma set numerous records for both strength and seasonal activity.  Wilma was only the third Category 5 ever to develop in the month of October and with the formation of Hurricane Wilma, the 2005 season became the most active on record, exceeding the 21 storms of the 1933 season.  Wilma was the twenty-second storm (including the subtropical storm discovered in reanalysis), thirteenth hurricane, sixth major hurricane, and fourth Category 5 hurricane of the record-breaking season.

Wilma made several landfalls, with the most destructive effects felt in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, Cuba, andStorm path the U.S. state of Florida.  At least 62 deaths were reported, and damage is estimated at over $24 billion ($16.8 billion in the US), ranking Wilma among the top 10 costliest hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic and the third costliest storm in U.S. history.  Wilma also affected eleven countries with winds or rainfall, more than any other hurricane in recent history.

  • Formed October 15, 2005
  • Dissipated October 25, 2005
  • Highest winds 185 mph (295 km/h
  • Lowest pressure 882 mbar (hPa) (Lowest pressure ever recorded in an Atlantic hurricane)

Hurricane Gilbert is the second most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin.  It was the eighth tropical storm and third hurricane of the 1988 Atlantic hurricane season.  Gilbert wreaked havoc in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico for nearly 9 days.  In total, it killed 318 people and caused $5 billion in damages over the course of its path.

Storm pathThe hurricane reached the lower end of category 5 while slamming into the Cayman Islands. A reporting station on Grand Cayman recorded a wind gust of 156 mph while passing just to the southeast.

Extreme intensification continued until Gilbert reached a minimum pressure of 888 mbar  (hPa), which was the lowest pressure ever recorded in the history of the western hemisphere and made Gilbert the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record, until it was surpassed by Hurricane Wilma in the 2005 season.  At its peak, Gilbert sustained winds of 185 mph (295 km/h).

Gilbert made landfall for a second time in Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula on September 14 as a category 5 hurricane, making it the first Category 5 to make landfall since Hurricane David hit Hispanola nine years earlier in 1979.  Major hurricane status was held as the storm made landfall for a third time as a category 3 near La Pesca, Tamaulipas, on September 16.  On September 17 Gilbert struck the inland city of Monterrey, Nuevo León.  Gilbert lost its strength when it merged with a frontal boundary in Texas on September 19.

·        Formed September 8, 1988
Dissipated September 19, 1988
Highest winds 185 mph (295 km/h)

Hurricane Emily was the fifth named storm, third hurricane, second major hurricane and first Category 5 of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season.  The storm formed in July as a Cape Verde-type hurricane before passing through the Windward Islands, where it caused heavy damage in Grenada.  Emily then made landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category 4 storm, first on the island of Cozumel and then just north of Tulum on the mainland of Quintana Roo.  After crossing the Bay of Campeche the hurricane made a final destructive landfall in the state of Tamaulipas in northern Mexico.

Late on July 13, Emily strengthened rapidly and reached hurricane strength while passing Tobago and entering the eastern Caribbean. On July 14 Emily made landfall in northern Grenada.

The intensification trend picked up again the next day with a fairly rapid drop in the storm's central pressure as it entered the southeastern Caribbean Sea, a region typically unfavorable for intensification.  Hurricane Emily's winds increased in reaction, briefly bringing the storm to Category 4 strength early on July 15.  During the day, the storm's strength fluctuated greatly, dropping to a Category 2 storm and then rebuilding to Category 4. 

On July 16, Emily strengthened considerably, making it the strongest hurricane ever on record to form in the month of July with peak winds of 160 mph (260 km/h), the earliest Category 5 in the Atlantic basin.  Initially at this point Emily was thought to Storm pathhave peaked as a Category 4 storm, but the post-storm analysis showed it was indeed a Category 5 storm.  The storm weakened slightly as it continued westward, and remained a Category 4 while passing south of Jamaica and, on July 17, the Cayman Islands.  Hurricane Emily continued on its nearly straight track to the west-northwest, weakening somewhat but remaining at Category 4 until striking Cozumel just before mainland landfall near Tulum at 2:30 am EDT on July 18.  Sustained winds were 135 mph (215 km/h), and the eye-wall passed directly over Cozumel.
Formed July 10, 2005
Dissipated July 21, 2005
Highest winds 160 mph (260 km/h) 

Hurricane Roxanne was the seventeenth storm, tenth hurricane, and the fifth and final major Storm pathhurricane of the 1995 Atlantic hurricane season.  Roxanne was the first storm to be assigned a name beginning with 'R' since hurricane naming began in the Atlantic in 1950 (and one of only two such names ever used - the other being Rita in 2005).

Roxanne formed from a tropical wave that merged with a broad low pressure area and an upper trough just off the coast of Honduras.  Despite this being a confusing formation, it is rather common in the western Caribbean.  All of these factors formed a tropical depression in the western Caribbean on October 7.  Roxanne now posed a threat to the Cayman Islands and Cuba.  However, the trough that was steering Roxanne to the north moved on and was replaced with a high pressure system.  This forced Roxanne west.  As the storm moved towards the Yucatan, it intensified greatly.

During the afternoon of the 10th, as Roxanne became a hurricane, a well-developed eye formed.  Shortly after Roxanne reached hurricane strength, it rapidly intensified to Category 3 strength (the first time that had happened in the western Caribbean Sea since the 1961 season when Hurricane Hattie took a very similar turn and intensification cycle).  Roxanne made landfall near peak intensity just north of Tulum, a small town near Cozumel, Mexico, with sustained winds near 115pmh.  Roxanne did not drop hurricane strength over land, despite the hurricane being inland for almost a full day and a half.

Roxanne emerged over water in the Bay of Campeche as a minimal hurricane.  Roxanne weakened to a tropical storm again shortly after exiting the coast, and turned northwest.  As soon as the circulation was mostly over water, Roxanne became a hurricane again.  Steering currents over the southern Gulf were weak.  Hurricane Roxanne trudged southeast, threatening the Yucatan again before again turning northwest.  Roxanne steadily weakened, turned south, and finally dissipated near the southern end of the Bay of Campeche.

Formed October 7, 1995
Dissipated October 21, 1995
Highest winds 115 mph (180 km/h)


Hurricane Mitch was one of the deadliest and most powerful hurricanes ever observed, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph (290 km/h).  The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season.  At the time, Mitch was the strongest Atlantic hurricane ever observed in the month of October, though it has since been surpassed by Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 season.  The hurricane also tied for the fourth most intense Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, but it has since dropped to seventh.

Storm pathMitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, and after drifting through extremely favorable conditions, it rapidly strengthened to peak at Category 5 status, the highest possible rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.  After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane.  It drifted through Central America, reformed in the Bay of Campeche, and ultimately struck Florida as a strong tropical storm.

Due to its slow motion from October 29 to November 3, Hurricane Mitch dropped historic amounts of rainfall in Honduras and Nicaragua, with unofficial reports of up to 75 inches (1900 mm).  Deaths due to catastrophic flooding made it the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history; nearly 11,000 people were killed with over 8,000 left missing by the end of 1998.  The flooding caused extreme damage, estimated at over $5 billion.

Formed October 22, 1998
Dissipated November 5, 1998
Highest winds 180 mph (290 km/h)


Hurricane Katrina was the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in the history of the United States.  It was the sixth-strongest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded Storm pathand the third-strongest landfalling U.S. hurricane ever recorded.  Katrina formed in late August during the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season and devastated much of the north-central Gulf Coast of the United States.  Most notable in media coverage were the catastrophic effects on the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, and in coastal Mississippi. Katrina's sheer size devastated the Gulf Coast over 100 miles (160 km) away from its center.

Katrina was the eleventh named storm, fifth hurricane, third major hurricane, and second Category 5 hurricane of the 2005 Atlantic season.  It formed over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, and crossed southern Florida as a moderate Category 1 hurricane, causing some deaths and flooding there, before strengthening rapidly in the Gulf of Mexico and becoming one of the strongest hurricanes on record.  The storm weakened considerably before making its second and third landfalls as a Category 3 storm on the morning of August 29 in southeast Louisiana and at the Louisiana/Mississippi state line, respectively.



On Sunday, October 8th, there was a report in USATODAY about the Mayakoba Resort and the Riviera Maya.  Here is a small excerpt from that story.

Manmade canals: Fairmont waterways are carved out of the jungle.Mayakoba also reflects the upscaling of the fast-growing Riviera Maya, an 88-mile stretch of vacation beaches that snakes south from Puerto Morelos through Playa del Carmen to the Mayan ruins of Tulum and is known for value-priced all-inclusive hotels.  Now, a half-dozen world-class lodgings cater to the marble-bathroom and $100-massage set.

A decade ago, the region — named for the ancient Maya who cultivated corn and built temples — had 73 hotels with 3,597 rooms.  By year's end, 382 hotels and resorts with 31,397 rooms will pepper the palm-fringed beaches fronting the world's second-largest barrier reef, says the Riviera Maya Tourist Board.  Ten thousand construction workers from all over Mexico are toiling day and night.

Bringing in even more luxury resorts is "part of our strategic plan," says tourist board director Dario Flota.  That plan will be bolstered by a just-announced regional airport, due in 2008, that will allow jet-setters to avoid the tedious one- to two-hour drive south from Cancun.

So far, Mayakoba isn't well known outside the Yucatan Peninsula, but developers hope it will be when it hosts the first-ever Professional Golf Association tour stop in Mexico in February.

Even the least expensive rooms at the Fairmont ($289 through Dec. 20) boast spacious marble baths with walk-in showers and glassed-in mini-gardens by the tub.  Standard amenities include French-press coffeemakers (sophisticated but tricky to use unless you know how).  Kinks — such as shuttling guests around the 35-acre property without waits — still are being worked out.

Next up is the 120-room Rosewood Mayakoba ($700 and up daily), featuring contemporary suites that have outdoor shower gardens, individual docks and living areas with floor-to-ceiling windows.  It's due next September.

And the all-inclusives are ever more chichi.  The Royal Hideaway Playacar in Playa del Carmen just won a AAA five-diamond rating.  The Azul Blue Hotel+Spa, opening in November near Tulum, has butlers, top-shelf liquor, a chef who once worked for the Mexican president and a pre-arrival concierge who might ask what song you'd like to hear at dinner.

Elsewhere on the Riviera Maya, more intimate hideaways have been sprouting to cater to the $500-a-day crowd with low-key elegance, high-thread-count linens and the genuinely warm and smiling service that distinguishes the region from many other hot-weather tourist meccas.

The Riviera Maya, "is growing like mushrooms”, as they say in France.  “Go away for a month, it changes."


300,000,000 AND COUNTING

Speaking of “growing like mushrooms”, the USA's population will reach an estimated 300 million at about 7:46 a.m. Tuesday October 17th.

This comes almost 39 years after the 200 million mark was reached on November 20, 1967.  The estimate is based on the expectation that the United States will register one birth every seven seconds and one death every 13 seconds between now and October 17, while net international migration is expected to add one person every 31 seconds.  The result is an increase in the total population of one person every 11 seconds.

Image:Census Bureau seal.jpg            How did this young country get so big so quickly?  Immigration, longevity, a relatively high birth rate and economic stability all have propelled the phenomenal growth.  The nation has added 100 million people since 1967 to become the world's third-most populous country after China and India.  It's growing faster than any other industrialized nation.

The biggest driver of growth is immigration — legal and illegal.  About 53 percent of the 100 million extra Americans are recent immigrants or their descendants, and without them, the USA would have about 250 million people today.

The newcomers have transformed an overwhelmingly white population of largely European descent into a multicultural society that reflects every continent on the globe.  Some arrived as war refugees.  Most came in search of better opportunities in a country that has strong civil rights and a stable economy.  Once here, they had babies, which helped the nation maintain a birthrate that is higher than that of Europe and Japan.

            For a country that has equated growth with prosperity throughout much of its history, 300 million is prompting soul-searching about everything from the consumption of natural resources and sprawl to border control and traffic jams.

            Oddly, most Americans don't have a clue how many people actually live in the USA or how many are expected to.  Twenty-nine percent guessed the population at 200 million or less, and 19 percent put it at 1 billion or more.  Twelve percent came within 50 million of guessing correctly.






Laura reports, “Here is our dinner menu at the snack bar while the restaurant is closed (until November 15th).  The snack bar menu is also available for dinner.”

Lol-Ha Classic Dishes

Classic Apetizers

                        Ahi Tuna Tartar                                                                        $89

                        Caesar Salad                                                                            $65

                        Ensalada Lol-ha  Lol-ha Salad                                                  $65

                        Croquetas de Jaiba    Crab Hush Puppies                                 $89


Classic Entrees


                        Seafood Stuffed Poblano Chile with White Wine Sauce $169

                        Tilapia Fish any Style                                                                $145

                        Pan Seared Ahí Tuna with Wasabi Cream                                 $159

                        Salmon in Mango Pineapple Sauce                                            $149

                        Mahi Mahi Lol-ha                                                                     $159

                        Bacon Wrapped Caribbean Shrimp                                          $189



                        Tampiqueña                                                                              $189

                        Pok Chuk                                                                                 $139

                        Pollo Mole Chicken Mole                                                         $139


            Carne Meat

                        Pork Chops With Mango Chutney and Apple Fritatta    $179


Servidos de 5:30pm a 9:00pm   Served from 5:30pm to 9:00pm

Oct 1 - Nov 15 2006




            Following close on the heals of the two humongous topes at Puerto Aventuras, Akumal now boasts its own two topes/speed bumps on Highway MX 307.  The Highway Department identifies these as Reductor De Velocidad.  While the edge of this one still has some yellow paint, both of them are basically invisible, blending in with the highway surface.  These are slowing the traffic down as it passes the entrance to Akumal.

            On another safety note, the locals are using the pedestrian overpass.

            And, they are installing topes on 307 at Chemuyil.







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