TEN DAYS IN THE YUCATAN:
There are approximately 6,000 cenotes in the Yucatan, but almost no rivers and very few lakes. The word “cenote” comes from a Mayan word “ts-onot,” which means “accessible groundwater.” Cenotes, subterranean bodies of water formed by rain seeping through limestone bedrock, were critical water sources for the Mayans.
SOME FAVORITE PLACES:
In the middle of the town of Valladolid, a 2 1/4 hour drive from Mérida, is the Cenote Zaci. It is a very large, dark blue pool at the bottom of a large cavern. The top of the cavern is covered with stalactites that resemble the dribblings of upside-down sand castles.
One side of the cavern is lined with tall, leafy green trees. The opposite side is bare, with high, natural ledges used by brave jumpers. I chose to walk down the long, looping path and slide into the cool, fresh water. Because the water is such a deep blue, I couldn´t tell what color the medium-size fish were, but they looked black and gave sharp nibbles on my feet and legs as I swam across to the other side of the pool.
|CENOTE ZACI, VALLADOLID, YUCATAN|
Some archeologists believe Uxmal was founded by Mayans in the 6th century, while others believe it dates back as early as the Pre-Classic period. The Mayan word “uxmal” means “thrice built,” but apparently the city was built five times, each time on top of the previous one. Unlike Chichen Itza, which was built around a cenote, Uxmal was dependent on rain as its only source of water. This explains why so many of the structures are adorned with hundreds of stone masks and carvings of “Chaac,” the god of rain.
Because we had visited Chichen Itza years ago and had been warned of the many vendors allowed inside the architectural zone, we chose to only visit Uxmal for a look at early Mayan splendor.
An easy hour´s drive from Mérida, we arrived at Uxmal in the middle of the afternoon. Although it had been 90 degrees in the city, a light sprinkle of rain and a cloudy sky provided perfect temperatures for touring this spectacular architectural zone. We had the area almost completely to ourselves with no vendors at all, and only a very small scattering of tourists. At night, the skies had cleared and stars were brilliant above us as we watched the “Sound and Light” show. Unfortunately for visitors who spoke little or no Spanish, the recorded narration was all in Spanish. That said, the lighting up of the complex in brilliant shades of reds, yellows and greens made the carvings even more dramatic than when seen in the daylight.
Uxmal, with its pyramids, palace and enormous courtyard, is an architectural marvel. It is a splendid example of the longing of humans for meaning and for beauty.
CELESTÚN, an hour-and-a half from Mérida, is a small fishing village on the mainland side of a 13.6 mile-long inlet-estuary. Depending on the time of year, 30,000 of the world´s largest and pinkest flamingos can be feeding and breeding there. We boarded a panga at the village dock and soon saw a shoreline pink with flamingos. After a 15-minute stop in their proximity and viewing pelicans, storks, herons, cranes and a small alligator, we motored into the “red” mangroves to “Ojo de Agua,” (“Eye of Water”). This is the name given to a pool of clear spring water where I enjoyed a brief swim in the extremely clear, green water. A rope had been placed across a narrow part of the pool to discourage swimmers from going beyond that part of the mangroves. Beyond the rope were two baby alligators nestled between the roots of mangroves. Afterwards, we enjoyed lunch on the beach and a swim in the very calm Gulf of Mexico.
|PUESTA DEL SOL – EL MALECÓN DE CAMPECHE|
INVITATION: PANGA EXCURSION TO RAISE MONEY FOR “LOUP,” RESCUE DOG´S SURGERY
Karla de la Peña, friend, owner of Boca Divers and co-founder of Ayudamutt, is hoping to raise $500 USD. “Loup” (French for “Wolf”), a young, homeless white male German Shepherd, was hit by a car in Boca and suffered a broken femur. Two surgeries were need to repair the damage. The beautiful Loup will need a permanent home after his recovery. Loup´s owner will be a very lucky person this Year of the Dog. Contact: [email protected]
Eight persons per panga excursion at $40 USD per person. Dates: Wednesday, February 21 or Saturday, February 24. Karla will be your remarkable guide. Contact: [email protected] or [email protected] (mark “loup fundraiser” in subject line, please).
Description of expedition: Meeting at Boca de Tomatlan dock : 9:00 am embark by 9:15 am – 3 hour outing.
$315 USD total for maximum 8 participants
Navigate the Bay of Banderas in search of dolphins, mantas, marine turtles, humpback whales, transient orcas and other large wildlife. Once located, observe wildlife at a prudent distance and always on terms of wildlife.
Sightings not guaranteed, but we are constantly surprised by amazing encounters!
Seasonal fruit, snacks and drinking water for on-board consumption.
Sample video encounters: https://youtu.be/GQC_XAE9YbU encountering dolphins
https://youtu.be/kFOyYDRYIN4 encountering orcas
|LOUP ANTES DE LA SEGUNDA CIRUGÍA- LOUP BEFORE SECOND SURGERY|
SAN JOSE, NAYARIT – The clinic was held at an outdoor “event garden” called “El Jacal,” a first-time location for PEACEAnimals. Unable to attend due to travels in the Yucatan, enthusiastic volunteers Angela Kelleher and Linda Stewart took all photos for this clinic.
STERILIZATIONS AT CLINIC IN SAN JOSE, NAYARIT-
|CLÍNICA EN SAN JOSÉ, NAYARIT – photo credit: Angela Kelleher|
FEMALE CATS – 33; MALE CATS -13; FEMALE DOGS -75; MALE DOGS -20 TOTAL: 141
|CLÍNICA EN SAN JOSÉ, NAYARIT – photo credit: Angela Kelleher|
PLUS pregnancies terminated for 1 cat with 4 fetuses; 1 cat with 6 fetuses; 1 cat with 3 fetuses
DONATIONS AT CLINIC IN SAN JOSE, NAYARIT:
THIS CLINIC WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY A GENEROUS GRANT OF $11,000 USD FROM FRIENDS OF HOMELESS ANIMALS (FOHA)
|CLÍNICA EN SAN JOSE, NAY. photos: Angela Kelleher|
|CLÍNICA EN SAN JOSÉ, NAY. photos: Linda Stewart|
EL TUITO: Only 30 miles south of central Vallarta, it is an hour´s drive on a very rutted coastal road that becomes a paved and winding one. Palm trees begin to disappear as one ascends higher above sea level and fragrant pine trees become plentiful. El Tuito (“Place of Beauty”), at 1988 feet above sea level, is lush farm and ranch land with a variety of fruit trees and one very large fighting cock farm. This annual clinic was held in Kai Doyle´s casita, across the narrow, cobbled street from her charming home that has an avocado tree in the middle of her kitchen.
|DR. POLI – CLÍNICA EN EL TUITO photo: Frank Ohly|
On my way to Tuito earlySaturday morning, I stopped off at Boca de Tomatlán. My friend Marlee had told me her artist son, Pipo Brockmann, had rescued two female dogs and wanted to get them spayed. The dogs are sisters and look very much like Belgian Shepherds. Pipo found them a month ago in the dump and has been caring for them. They´re seven months old, beautiful and very sweet. Contact me if interested in adopting.
|ARTISTA PIPO BROCKMANN EN BOCA CON 2 PERRITAS RESCATADAS. NECESITAN HOGARES.|
|PERRA CON TVT – TUITO|
At the clinic, Bruce and I drove around town looking for animals to bring to the clinic. We spotted a tabby kitten in a back yard, stopped and collected him and his handsome brother and a small, fluffy black- and- white four-year old dog. We spoke with the friendly owner, who said she didn´t want more puppies and was caring for fifteen cats and kittens that were all throwaways. After delivering the three pets to the clinic, we drove back to the same area, where we saw a sad-looking black Pit Bull mix. It was a female showing every indication of having given birth to multiple litters. An enormous tumor on her genitals meant TVT. Bruce and I assumed the dog had no owner and took her back to the clinic to be euthanized. We were surprised when a volunteer from Tuito told us that the dog had an owner and the malignant tumor had been growing for months. The volunteer signed the permission for spaying, which will prevent other dogs from contacting VD. The owner couldn´t be found and the gentle dog will probably die soon.
When I asked the owner of a large, black dog barking aggressively in a kennel on the sidewalk if the dog was dangerous, she said yes . Her young son then stretched out his arm to show me the barely healed, deep bite marks on both sides. A dangerous pet.
|MORDIDAS EN DOS LADOS DEL BRAZO HICIERON POR SU MASCOTA – TUITO|
STERILIZATIONS IN EL TUITO FEBRUARY 14-17: MALE DOGS – 17; FEMALE DOGS – 40; MALE CATS – 17; FEMALE CATS – 33 TOTAL: 107
PLUS 1 PREGNANCY TERMINATED FOR 1 CAT WITH 5 FETUSES
DONATIONS at clinic in El Tuito: Amount not yet received. Will be reported in next blog.
EDUCATION PROGRAM: A school was not available, but several children came by the clinic and were entranced by the hand puppets Leslie used for a little show.
|CLÍNICA EN EL TUITIO – NIÑAS CON TÍTERES|
The mission of PEACEAnimals is to end the future suffering of cats and dogs. The most efficient way to do this is via a massive, free spay/neuter clinic. In 2017, PEACEAnimals sterilized 5,357 cats and dogs.
|DR. PACHECO Y DR. POLI – EL TUITO|
WE NEED DONATIONS OF USED AND NEW KENNELS FOR CATS AND DOGS OF ALL SIZES. WE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO BE ABLE TO GIVE USED OR NEW COLLARS AND LEASHES TO DOG OWNERS WHO BRING THEIR PETS TO THE CLINICS.
PEACEANIMALS VET TEAM – EL EQUIPO DE PEACEANIMALS – DR. ANTHONY, LESLIE, DR. POLI Y DR. PACHECO