As I am sure most of you would have read or seen on the news, the southern region of the Yucatan Peninsula was badly affected by Hurricane Dean in August, as one of the strongest hurricanes on record hit the southern coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico.

After inspections by engineers, it was unfortunately decided that a return to the new GVI Mahahual base at Punta Dzucoch was not an option so the October phase went ahead in our old base at the Estacion Costa Maya (ECM) in Mahahual. This was our home for 3 years prior to the move to Punta Dzucoch in June and we are proud to be able to help two of our partners (the University of Quintana Roo and Amigos de Sian Ka’an).

This move had many benefits, in particular for our local partners and the community of Mahahual. Expedition Members played an active role in rebuilding the ECM as a functional research station and community centre, as well as developing it as a satellite camp for future expeditions to utilise. We were ideally placed to continue the Hurricane relief work ongoing in Mahahual, making a real and direct difference to the lives of many locals. It also gave us a great opportunity to monitor the sites that we have amassed 3 years worth of data for and thereby obtain some greatly interesting data that can directly compare the state of the reef before and after a devastating hurricane.

Parallel to this, we have searched and found a new base, in conjunction with our local partners, who we have spoken extensively with regarding their focuses for a new permanent and long term base.

The new base is just South of the Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site of Sian Ka’an. This means that we can easily monitor the south of the Reserve, something that CONANP (the government agency that manages the reserve) have been requesting, but has not been possible due to the distance between Mahahual and the Reserve. We also hope to use the ECM as a satellite camp in the near future. This combination of sites will mean that we have a much wider geographical span when monitoring. It also means that we can continue monitoring the sites we have been studying for the past 3 years.

The main differences you will notice about the new facilities and location, compared to the existing base, which we are leaving:

  • Our new base is much bigger
  • Accommodation will be in smaller but less cramped rooms sleeping from 6 to 8 people as opposed to everyone in one dormitory at the ECM.
  • There is running water (still only cold water, but who wants more in the tropics!)
  • There is little passing traffic so you can experience the peace of your beautiful new home on the beach.
  • Being further from town does mean that unfortunately you won’t be able to walk down the road and buy an ice-cream or cold drink but you won’t even notice with the tranquillity of the base.
  • A lot will be new and there will be a sense of being a part of the beginning of something. You will have the exciting opportunity to dive at places and dive-sites that no-one has ever been to before.
  • Being further from town you may incur some small costs in local taxis if you want to leave the base and go to the town, however there will be regular GVI visits to town for food shopping, teaching and other reasons

Your new home for 5 or 10 weeks:

base1.jpgbase2.jpg

These are just couple of photos to give you an idea about our new home. We are sure you will enjoy your time here, the facilities are definitely an improvement and the location is truly spectacular. We are extremely excited about this new location. It not only allows us to provide you with better facilities, but more importantly, it allows GVI’s partner in country to continue and grow the monitoring programme GVI provide them with. This will provide data that will assist in the management and preservation of the fragile marine ecosystem we are living right in the middle of.

We will be endeavouring to get some more photos and text up on the GVI website soon.

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