The Akumalian

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

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August 2013  Issue 128

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August is another month with no (major) Mexican holidays.  But, August is very noteworthy if you look to the sky for the Perseid Meteor Shower on the 10th - 13th

July was somewhat of a mixed bag, weather-wise; e.g.  lots of rain, hot steamy days, and strong winds.  What will August bring us??

Do not forget the other local publications, Sac-Be The Costal Source for Travel in the Riviera Maya, the Pelican Free Press, and the CEA Newsletter

And, do not forget that Robin’s Best Shirt Award is on THIS Friday, August 2nd.

 The Staff took advantage of rainy July to do some administrative work.  The Akumal Telephone Book(s) and Birthdays & Anniversaries have been updated, and The Staff KNOWS with 100 percent certainty that they are not totally up-to-date and correct.  You are the only one who can assure that.  Send all updates and corrections to The Staff at  For what it is worth, the DVD Library has also been updated.

The Staff also finished the series on Tequila, and these are carefully hidden in the Photo Gallery.  Check them out and do your own tasting; it is fun.

The Staff now asks for your help with the distribution list for The Akumalian.  Over time, people change their e-mail address, but they do not delete (unsubscribe) from The Akumalian’s distribution list.  The Staff requests/implores you to go to the Subscribe Box in the top left hand corner and unsubscribe all your older e-mail addresses.  Just type in the old address and check unsubscribe.  It would be GREATLY appreciated.



August was named after Augustus Caesar in 8 B.C.

This month was originally named Sextilis in Latin, because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar under Romulus in 753 BC, when March was the first month of the year.  About 700 BC it became the eighth month when January and February were added to the year, before March, by King Numa Pompilius, who also gave it 29 days.  Julius Caesar added two days when he created the Julian calendar in 45 BC giving it its modern length of 31 days.  In 8 BC it was renamed in honor of Augustus, who did not take a day from February.

 Leo - July 23 -August 21
 Virgo – August 24 – September 23

 August Birthstone:  Peridot
In 1912 the American National Association of Jewelers named the Peridot (pronounced pair i dot or pair i doe) as the august birthstone.  It is also given as the 16th anniversary gem.

A beautiful green to yellow-green in color, the Peridot is often mistake for an emerald.  In fact, legend has it that Queen Cleopatra preferred Peridot over other gems and that some of her "Emeralds" may have been Peridot.  Emeralds, though, don't have the yellow tint and tend to be a darker green.

August Flower:  Gladiolus
The gladiolus flower is the birth flower for August.  The name "Gladiolus" is derived from the Latin word "gladius", meaning "sword", for the shape of its leaves.  An ancient name for the gladiolus was "xiphium," from the Greek word "xiphos", also meaning sword. 


You can go to August Birthday and Anniversaries to see these for every month of the year. Go check it out to see if you are there. 

 August Birthdays and Anniversaries
2          Peter Titze
4          Bob Mather
6          Rudy & Cathy Perez Anniversary
7          Lucy Gallagher
7          Richard Glenn (“Ricardo”) Northcutt
8          Steve Wandler
8          Shari Jackson
8          Fermina
9          Donny Hall
9          Ryan Wolfe
9          Pat & Cheryl Reagan Aniversary
14        Alice Blatner
14        Oveta Vardell
15        Kurt and Jonathan Bliss
15        Mari Sanchez
16        Maribel Bianchi
16        Sibylle Gonzalez
18        Pete & Lois Raap Anniversary
18        Cheryl Hall
18        Dave Zucker
20        Bart & Jen Smith Anniversary
23        Jana Simpson
23        Woody & Julie Brenton Anniversary
24        Dave & Michelle Bliss Anniversary
27        John Winkel
30        Tony & Judy James Anniversary
30        Lauren Seana Dooley
30        Mathias Schober

Missed Birthdays in July.

            July 18 - Lillie Grace Little was born at 1:10 pm at Medical City of Dallas Texas.  She weighed 5 lbs 5 ozs and 18-1/4 inches.  The proud parents are Gara & Clayton Little, and the very proud Grandparents are Gary & Oveta Vardell.  Lillie Grace has 1 brother, Pierce Little.

            July 19 – Marieke & Scott report that Andrew FinleyBrown (Finn) was born on the 19th after a quick labor, weighing a little over 8lb 1oz.  He was welcomed with excitement, especially by his big brother Kai.


Huge African dust storm squashes Atlantic hurricane potential

Africa sneezed, and the tropical Atlantic is choking.  An intense, sprawling dust storm exited the African west coast earlier this week, effectively squashing any tropical storm formation in adjacent Atlantic waters for days to come.

Over the Atlantic Ocean, the storm has formed a highly concentrated layer of atmospheric dust, known as the SAL (Saharan Air Layer).  It is characterized by extremely dry air, which acts to suffocate the development of thunderstorms and the organization of tropical weather systems.

            By the weekend, the SAL spans from the coast of Africa to Puerto Rico.  It’s no coincidence weather forecast models simulate no tropical storm development in this window.

NOAA’s Environmental Visualization Laboratory, using an aerosol (a fancy word for fine particle) model, projects the movement of this dust layer over the next several days:

            Google “African Dust” to read a lot more about this phenomenon.


Mary Lou Mulgrew, 86, of Dubuque, passed away at home, surrounded by family on Thursday, July 25, 2013.  Funeral services were held on Monday, July 29, at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church and burial was in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Mary Lou was born January 3, 1927, in Highland Park, IL, daughter of William and Hazel (Augustine) Cawley.  She graduated from Clarke College in Dubuque.  In 1948, she married Robert J. Mulgrew of Dubuque.

Mary Lou took on motherhood, homemaking and ranching along with community service.  In all her capacities, laughter always preceded her into a room.  She was a loyal and fun person to all who knew her even through her final days.  Mary Lou was an ever present member within the St Joseph's Elementary School community and volunteer with Mercy Hospital Service Club.  A three time cancer survivor herself, having lost her mother, father and sister to cancer, she became an active volunteer with the American Cancer Society, having served in multiple roles.

In her fifties, Mary Lou became a realtor. Over 25 years of selling real estate, she experienced success and became known for her honesty and integrity.

Surviving are her three children: Robert J. Mulgrew, Jr. of Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico; Mary (John) Gronen, of Dubuque; Michael (Linda Hart) Mulgrew of Toronto, Ontario, Canada; four grandchildren, Anna and Matthew Mulgrew, Jack and Will Gronen.

            She was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and a sister, Helen Cawley Heicher.

Marylou & Bob Mulgrew first visited to Akumal in the early 1970's.  In 1974, Bob, Marylou, Mike, Bobby & Mary, along with Terry and Din Richardson (good friends of the family) stayed on Akumal beach in their motor home.  Tio & Marylou were among the first to purchase a casita, and become members of Club de Yates.  They purchased casita number 6 in 1975.

In later years Marylou would spend the month of February in Akumal.  During the years Mike & Linda lived in Akumal, Marylou visited Akumal at least once a year, if not more often to see her grandchildren Anna & Matt.

On line condolences may be sent to

             Adios, Mary Lou.


Phil Mickelson loses 61% of his Scottish winnings to taxes

According to a report by Forbes magazine, Phil Mickelson will sacrifice 61% of his earnings for winning both the 2013 Open Championship and the Scottish Open, all of which will go in taxes to the British and U.S. governments and to the State of California.  Great Britain still collects taxes in Scotland, where the Open Championship was held this year. (Scotland will start collecting its own taxes in 2016.)

The explanation for how Mickelson’s tax rate can get to 61% is decently long and involved, including parts on escalating tax rates and also the fact that the “UK is one of few countries that collects taxes on endorsement income for non-resident athletes that compete in Britain.”  Forty five percent of Mickelson’s winnings will go to Great Britain, with 13% going to California and the remaining going to the United States government.

The long and short is that 61% will go to taxes, and that’s before Mickelson pays his caddie, pays for his hotel and expenses, pays his agent, etc.  All in, Mickelson will probably walk away with about 30% of the money he earned.

Doubling the pain?  Mickelson also won the Scottish Open the week before the Open Championship, which will be taxed at the same rate.  For winning both tournaments, Mickelson earned £1,445,000, or about $2,167,500.  After taxes, he’ll take home $842,700, with a bit over $1.3 million going to taxes.  We assume all of the money taxed by Britain will go directly to the Royal Baby’s Binkie Fund.

Now, it’s tough to feel any sort of sympathy at all for Mickelson, who just won the Open Championship, makes a boatload of money in endorsements and such (he was ranked as Forbes’ #7 highest-paid athlete), and all-in-all seems to have a pretty good life.  This is also the guy who said he might move away from California because of the state taxes there.  No tears shall be shed for him.  But man, sixty-one percent is a lot of percent.


Come one, come all, to the Beach Bar, where we’ll have a ball.

It’s time for another “Best Shirt Award”, which is held on the first Friday of each month during Happy Hour at the Lol Ha Beach Bar. 

This award is based on Robin’s penchant for good, classy Beach Bar shirts, and his sister, Mary, will once again be the judge and jury to select the “Best Shirt” for August.  And, as we go to print the criteria are still somewhat nebulous, and they seem to be changing as we move into the summer months.  

The July competition was on Friday, July 5th, and the winner was Jim Rowland.  See July Best Shirt for more photos.




 Richard Mazzola’s Painting of the Month
            Richard Mazzola has his gallery, Ak-Nah Galeria, in Plaza Ukana, and back in February he had a very successful art show; see Richard’s Art Show.  As a result, The Akumalian is featuring one of Richard’s painting each month.

            On this one, titled Dog and Kid, which is 32x24 and priced at $500 in the gallery,  Richard says, “What I was trying to convey in this painting was of course the humor, and balance with color and shapes. So the eye travels around the entire painting.”

 Visit Richard’s Gallery for more info on Richard and his art work.


CEA Defends Control of Access to Beach Across Its Property

Letter from CEA director, Paul Sánchez-Navarro

Akuaml bay is being destroyed from massive snorkel tourism, and related bad snorkeling and marine recreation practices (grabbing sea turtles, standing on coral, poaching sea turtle nests, illegal vendors, shoddy equipment, molesting visitors).  Centro Ecológico Akumal (CEA), the hotels and dive shops are working to revert this situation through better control of the beachfront properties and by implementing a bay management program.

The first step to address this situation is to control the use of CEA property; allowing Akumalians access to the beach and controlling the number of tours entering the bay. CEA will offer orderly access to the beach across its property, along with information and services for the safe and healthy enjoyment by the national and international tourists who visit Akumal.  CEA is not “privatizing” the beach; the federal zone remains a public area.  However, CEA is changing the location of the access to the beach and providing more security to visitors, while limiting the number of businesses that operate on its beach property.

Besides controlling its property, CEA is increasing its research and management efforts, in collaboration with the local hotels and dive shops and federal authorities to carry out management and rehabilitation measures to protect the valuable natural resources of Akumal.

Unfortunately, The Akumalian does not know the ‘rest of the story’ as it actually unfolded.  The story goes that some party, or parties, blocked the ‘old’ beach path to the beach in an effort to divert the foot traffic on a defined route across CEA’s property to the beach.  This was done with a pile of boulders and a chain link fence around July 11th.  Needless to say, another party, reportedly illegal Pirates, with business interests on Akumal Bay stirred up the natives with rumors of, “the gringos are denying us access to the beach, etc., etc., etc.”.  So, heavy machinery was arranged and the stone blockade and chain link fence were removed.  There was some kind of small demonstration, and traffic into and out of Akumal was disrupted for a while.

However, other rumors, like “Laura Bush-Wolf is blocking pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic to the beach and/or North Akumal” are totally and unequivocally false, at this point in time.


CEA Adopts Program to Tag Green Sea Turtles
 The local population of Green sea turtles in Akumal bay fluctuates, with as many as 43 individuals present at any given time.  The increase in numbers of juvenile Green turtles has resulted in an increase in tourists coming to see them.  Research of the local populations and habitat must be improved. In order to study the foraging patterns of the juvenile green turtles in Akumal Bay, we will equip eight individuals with acoustic transmitters and passively track them, using a network of listening stations in Akumal.

Acoustic tags will help us better understand the behavior patterns of turtles, especially as they enter and leave the bay to forage.  The tagging is a suitable technique to assess the possible effects of environmental changes or human activities (e.g. snorkel tours) on Green turtles.  The monitoring networks will enable us to observe how turtles use a small foraging area over several weeks or several months.  This would allow students and the public to gain access to the work of scientists and offer educational materials that incorporate real-time research data.  The acoustic receiver will send data from the sea turtles to a remote server. This project will set a standard for other scientists around the world.  This is the first time this technique would be applied to sea turtles in the area, and the data collected will be used to improve the existing bay management program.

Teens4Oceans ( ) is supplying an underwater and above water camera and powering and network systems, including a two year maintenance and service agreement.  The acoustic receiver and data acquisition tools will be mounted on the installation-mounting pole.  The camera systems will connect to a pole-mounted watertight electronics enclosure with a single solar panel affixed to the top of the enclosure.  The enclosure, mounted on a pipe, will communicate with a radio in CEA offices.  Teesn4Oceans has supplied a computer and work with CEA to ensure that the video stream is encoded and embedded on the Teens4Oceans website, and is available for public viewing.


Grand Opening Of The Akumal Children’s Playground
Marieke Brown reports on the opening.
   The grand opening of the Akumal Childrens Playground was on Thursday, July 11.  This is the playground that has been built with the money fund-raised by the community of Akumal, the community of South Akumal, the children of the Akumal Primaria, and the Akumal Comedy Festival 2012.  We managed to raise approximately US$13,000 in total throughout the year, which all went to paying for this playground.

The playground has been purchased from, and installed by a company called Swings and Slides, and we purchased the Camion Ecologico.  The park is in the Akumal Pueblo opposite the church and right behind the basketball cancha.  Can’t miss it!  We had free saborines for the kids. 

I want to say a huge thank you to all of you who participated in this fundraising effort and made this park possible.  It is so important that the children of the pueblo have a safe place to play, and thanks to all of you, this has become a reality.  I would like to extend a special mention to Gabriella Herbert who has dedicated a huge amount of her personal time and energy to this project, and has been one of the major driving forces in making this happen.

The park is in the Akumal Pueblo opposite the church and right behind the basketball cancha.  Check out the photos at Akumal Children’s Playground.


Akumal Real Estate Is Now BuyPlaya Akumal

Rob Kinnon of BuyPlaya Real Estate reports the following.

The Akumal Real Estate office is not closed.  It is being moved upstairs.  BuyPlaya's sales and marketing strategies have never relied on walk in clients as a major source of buyers.  Our plan is to continue marketing Akumal just as we have Playa del Carmen.  With the number of home sales that we have already accomplished this year, it seems the system is working. 

Tony and Sal will continue to use the Akumal Real Estate office as a base of operations and should be there when they are not out with clients or working on larger projects.  The office will be manned by Veronica, who will be able to forward any phone inquiries or greet the occasional walk-in customer.  She is prepared to make the call to the appropriate agent, so that someone can meet with interested parties ASAP or arrange a tour.

            The link now points to the new BuyPlaya Akumal website.


A robotic space probe nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion km) from Earth turned its gaze away from Saturn and its entourage of moons to take a picture of its home planet.

 The resulting image shows Earth as a very small, blue-tinged dot – paler and tinier than in other photos – overshadowed by the giant Saturn’s rings in foreground.

 “We can’t see individual continents or people in this portrait of Earth, but this pale blue dot is a succinct summary of who we were on July 19,” Linda Spilker, Cassini spacecraft lead scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said in a statement.  


 The Perseid meteor shower is perhaps the most beloved meteor shower of the year for the Northern Hemisphere.  The shower builds gradually to a peak, often produces 50 to 100 meteors per hour in a dark sky at the peak, and, for those in the Northern Hemisphere, this shower comes when the weather is warm.    The Perseids tend to strengthen in number as late night deepens into midnight, and typically produce the most meteors in the wee hours before dawn.  They radiate from a point in the constellation Perseus the Hero, but, as with all meteor shower radiant points, you don’t need to know Perseus to watch the shower; instead, the meteors appear in all parts of the sky.  They are typically fast and bright meteors.  They frequently leave persistent trains.  Every year, you can look for the Perseids around August 10-13.  In 2013, the Perseid meteors will streak across the short summer nights – August 10-13 – from late night until dawn, with little to no interference from the waxing crescent moon.  Plus the moon will be near the planet Saturn in the evening hours, giving a colorful prelude to late-night Perseid show.  Best mornings to look: August 11, 12 and 13.  


What are meteor showers I hear you ask?
An increase in the number of meteors at a particular time of year is called a meteor shower.

Comets shed the debris that becomes most meteor showers.  As comets orbit the Sun, they shed an icy, dusty debris stream along the comet's orbit. If Earth travels through this stream, we will see a meteor shower.  Depending on where Earth and the stream meet, meteors appear to fall from a particular place in the sky, maybe within the neighborhood of a constellation.

Meteor showers are named by the constellation from which meteors appear to fall, a spot in the sky astronomers call the radiant.  For instance, the radiant for the Leonid meteor shower is located in the constellation Leo.  The Perseid meteor shower is so named because meteors appear to fall from a point in the constellation Perseus.

 What are shooting stars?
"Shooting stars" and "falling stars" are both names that people have used for many hundreds of years to describe meteors -- intense streaks of light across the night sky caused by small bits of interplanetary rock and debris called meteoroids crashing and burning high in Earth's upper atmosphere.  Traveling at thousands of miles an hour, meteoroids quickly ignite in searing friction of the atmosphere, 30 to 80 miles above the ground.  Almost all are destroyed in this process; the rare few that survive and hit the ground are known as meteorites.

When a meteor appears, it seems to "shoot" quickly across the sky, and its small size and intense brightness might make you think it is a star.  If you're lucky enough to spot a meteorite (a meteor that makes it all the way to the ground), and see where it hits, it's easy to think you just saw a star "fall."



  • Thierry & Jissou Vander Elst are back in South Akumal.
  • Beniko was back visiting with Rhett.
  • Jim Rowland is back in his Playa Blanca condo.
  • David & Nancy Poor are back at Romero until early September.
  • Bruce & Ellen Eanet are back at Lol Ka'naab.
  • Don Eischen is returning to his penthouse at The Reef the first week of September.


·       Russ & Stephanie Motley made a quick run up to Colorado.



            Here is a device that has to go onto most “have-to-have” Christmas lists.

Wine access device transforms how wine is served, sold, and enjoyed

It’s an overnight success to be that’s been more than a decade in the making.  Coravin wine access technology is launching after thirteen years of development.

 It’s a gadget that allows wine enthusiasts to enjoy wine by-the-glass without committing to the whole bottle.  The device combines an advanced needle with argon gas and pressure to remove wine from a bottle while leaving the cork in place and safeguarding the wine from oxidation.  Wine drinkers can enjoy and share the same bottle during multiple occasions, over weeks, months or longer without wasting any wine.  They can access multiple bottles during a single occasion.

Put it on the bottle, push the needle through the cork, tip the bottle, push a lever to inject gas, and the wine comes out.  The gas displaces the wine in the bottle.  You can pour as much as you want. When you’re done, tip the bottle back up and pull the needle out.  The thin, hollow needle passes through the foil and cork to access the wine.  The bottle is pressurized with argon. Argon pushes the wine through the needle so it flows into the glass without letting oxygen in.  When the needle is removed, the cork naturally reseals itself.  Cork is an amazing material.

            There’s a waiting list to order the units online, the price is $299 – argon canisters sold separately.

            Go to Coravin Wine Access Technology for the YouTube video.


The Full Sturgeon Moon is on August 21st at 2:44am AST.

The fishing Maya tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the great cenotes and other major bodies of water in the Yucatan, were most readily caught during this month.  A few Maya tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze.  It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon.


There were other Akumal "Events" in July besides the "Best Shirt Award", and they include:

·       Grand Opening Of The Akumal Children’s Playground

·       Sunset Sail on Kantaris


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