Wednesday, March 11, 2015

canute comes to barra

Mexico is putting on its boxing gloves to go another round with Mother Nature.

Earlier this month I told you in putting the sound into flavor, my new home town of Barra de Navidad is valiantly battling the erosion of its beaches.  Like most areas that rely on the margin where sand meets water, there is a tendency for the sand to disappear into the water -- forever.

Big tourist centers (Miami comes to mind) have regular programs to replenish their beaches to allow revelers to develop the sarcoma of their choice.  We small fry centers wait until the sand is almost gone.  Then we act.

That is what happened in Barra de Navidad.  Over the years, the nice sloping beach sluffed off into the briny main.  Why?  There are lots of theories and little data.  Whatever caused it, the sand disappeared.

For the past two years, the local authorities have been implementing a plan to restore the sand and to put tourist pesos in the local cash registers.

A regular reader left the area about two weeks ago.  She sent me an email asking how the project was progressing.  So, off I went to play Walter Lippman for the day.

When my friend Dennis arrived Sunday of last week, I shot the view at the top of this essay.  You can get a good idea of how the process works.

The barge in the laguna -- looking like a prop from a Huck Finn adventure -- has been pumping those Sahara-style dunes on to the ocean side of the sand bar that gives our town its name.

A bulldozer and a hearty handful of local volunteers then turn the dunes into something resembling a Mexican beach rather than anti-invasion revetments.

When I walked the beach today, the work had moved hundred of yards north.  For those of you who know our local land marks, they are operating in front of Marlena's restaurant now. 

This is what her patio restaurant looked like this morning.

In addition to the sand portion of the project, the workers have been installing sacks filled with sand to act as a reef.  Due to its steep grade, ours is a one-break beach.  When the waves smash against the beach and release their full force, sand tends to wander.

A group of divers were suiting up to deal with one portion of the project, while the rest of the operation was being put in place to pump more dunes onto the beach.

I doubt there is a construction project in the world that does not attract boys.  These two brothers left their other family members, who were further up the beach, and started exploring amongst the rocks where equipment was stored.

They were fascinated with the air lines the divers were relying upon to avoid becoming a workers' compensation statistic.  Handling.  Pulling.  Crimping. 

The foreman standing next to them was aware they were there, but did nothing to hinder their curiosity.  Not even wen the workers, carrying heavy equipment, had to step over and around them.

But it was too much for a grandmother from the north.  She ran down to the beach yelling (in English) and gesticulating that someone needed to get the boys out of danger.  The foreman ignored her. 

When she tried to take the boys by their hands, they both pulled away.  She retreated in what appeared to be a state of high dudgeon, muttering something about no one caring about anything.

I am not certain how far the restoration project will extend along the bay.  But it seems to be moving quickly.  That is good.  We are supposed to see some rain this weekend.

The question now will be: how long will the sand take up residence here?  I guess we will find out in the next series of storms.

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