Receive discounts on GVI programs for life!

We are very excited to announce the launch of the GVI Membership! It will give you unprecedented access to discounted spots on a range of GVI programs, updated every single month, at up to 40% off! Sign in and know more about here!

GVI Marine Training kit

Please click here to access the online GVI Marine training kit

If you are coming for four weeks click
here to find the training tool that will help you learning your juvenile fish!

Study on the go! Click here for a Caribbean fish id guide application for iphones, ipads and ipods!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mahahual….A year after Hurricane Dean

August 21st, 2008 marked the first anniversary of the passing of this meteorological phenomenon. This quaint town, once a fishing village, was on the verge of big development due to mass tourism coming through when cruise ships docked, but then it would turn into a ghost town once the tourists and the boats disappeared. After the hurricane´s passing, Mahahual was unrecognizable. Pictures would not be able to convey the destruction that actually happened.But throughout the year things have been happening, and these images might give an idea of the changes and development that has taken place.

Our short tour starts with the ECM (Estación Costa Maya). After GVI Mahahual occupied this building for the post-hurricane phase back in October through December, it has been vacant. We are hoping to use it in the near future as a sat camp to continue monitoring the sites in town. The vegetation in front of the building is slowly recovering and regaining its green color. Next, we have Dreamtime. This building was also occupied during the post-hurricane phase, and like the ECM, it is still vacant.

For those who remember walking on a dirt street through Mahahual, you would be very surprised to see it today. It has been turned into a “malecón”. Colorful cement tiles have been put down from the fisherman´s pier up to the lighthouse. Rubbish bins, wooden lifeguard stations and bathrooms with showers are part of the new scenery. Some say hot, some say not. You be the judge.
If you look at the picture, the palapa roof at the end is the newly reconstructed 40 canyons.

Further down, we have the primary school “Vicente Kau Chan”. This is one of the few structures that did not suffer great damage and weeks later after Dean’s passing, the school held normal schedules and tried very hard to have business as usual. Despite this fact, it was refurbished this summer. Improvements were made to the doors and wooden blinds on the windows. GVI contributed to beautifying the school with a mural painted by our EMs back in January, along with a snakes and ladders and hop scotch boards painted on the ground. The road to go into and out of Mahahual has been upgraded from a dirt road to a paved highway lined with street lights and road signs. Will this mean more traffic in this town? You can count on it. This is the double edged sword of modernization. This first anniversary did not go unnoticed by the inhabitants of Mahahual.

A festival was organized in remembrance and in celebration of the betterments that have been made. Jats’a Ja, a Mayan ritual of rebirth was the theme for the 3 day festival. And last but not least, a picture of the main activity that has put Mahahual in the eye of growth and development: the cruise ship pier. It was broken in 7 different pieces, so reconstruction has been slow. And the people who count on the arrival of the cruise ships as a mean of support have been patient. The first cruise is supposed to arrive at the end of October, and it is said that only then will Mahahual return to normality. Or will it? The hurricane affected many diving sites that were monitored before. Will normality mean a more difficult recovery for the reef? We can’t answer that question now, but with our continued efforts and work, we hope to have a positive response in the future.