Green Musings of an Eco Resort

Monday, October 29, 2012

"The sea was angry that day my friend"

On the official Maho newsworthy items scale that may interest would-be travelers to Maho, this story rates at about a 1 out of 10 if you've never been here before. For those that have vacationed or lived here it might jump all the way to a 1.5 out of 10. Sometimes it just takes a slight change in our usual patterns here on the island for us to start getting curious and talking, and this was definitely the talk of the morning here at Maho during breakfast!

This morning at about 6:15am my eyes awoke to an unusual sight, while my ears awoke to an unusual sound: waves crashing at Little & Big Maho, and white caps in the middle of the bay. The sound of waves at the beach isn't particularly abnormal, it happens every month or two during the winter, but in all of my years here I can't ever remember a time when I saw waves breaking out beyond Cinnamon Cay. Waves breaking beyond Cinnamon takes the perfect swell as well as the perfect wind and perhaps even the perfect moon (a Hunter's Moon today). The swell is NW, while the wind is SW this morning. Nobody here at Maho (even those here more than a decade!) can ever remember a time when waves were breaking beyond Cinnamon. Needless to say, Johnson's Reef is pretty wild this morning. Looking carefully you can see quite a few white waves beyond the one breaking wave in the foreground of above picture.

Related yet even more obscure and ranking a possible .5 out of 10 on our Maho newsworthy items scale that may interest would-be travelers to Maho, are the breaking waves at Great and Little Tobago next to Jost Van Dyke and a part of our view from the Pavilion Restaurant. While it's interesting to watch the waves breaking at Little Tobago, it's even more interesting to see the wave action in the foreground just before Little Tobago; imagine Johnson's Reef only much smaller and in the middle of the ocean between Little Tobago and Whistling Cay. It's rumored to be called Kings Rock, which is normally a shallow area of water in the middle of the ocean never really seen or talked about. In fact, I don't think most boats would need to concern themselves with it if sailing in the area (this is not a confirmed source!). The point is that this swell action we have this morning is giving us a brief "view" of what lies beneath the surface out near Little Tobago.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

By 6pm last night all of Maho Bay Camps was once again shut down and prepared for Tropical Storm Rafael, which was to move over us in the later afternoon and through the night. Watching the sunset like it did last night was never what we would have expected after the 11am NHC update. We were expecting very heavy rains and 40mph winds by 6pm, and instead get a beautiful evening with barely a breath of wind in the air and no rain.

The 5pm, 8pm and 11pm NHC updates told us a story we very much enjoyed reading about: the storm was headed more North and even North NorthEast, with the center passing about 100 miles to our East instead of directly over us or to our West. Most of the "bad stuff" in the storm was the rain and wind located in the southeastern portion of the storm. Through the night the winds were calm and very little rain developed. This morning we're seeing bits of rain and cloudy skies, but we'll take it compared to what was supposed to be here!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Coastal Cleanup

Tuesday morning the 9th of October was International Coastal Cleanup day for Maho Bay Camps. Each year around this time we volunteer to walk the beaches of Big Maho, Little Maho and Francis Bay, picking up every bit of trash we can find. A more beautiful morning could not have been found as we started scouring the beaches at 9am. Not a single soul on Big Maho the entire time! Ah the off-season. 

This year we had 6 of us volunteer for the 3 beaches, collecting a total of 2 large 45 gallon garbage bags worth of trash from all three beaches.....not that bad if the goal is to not find much trash! Last year it seemed like we collected quite a bit more trash, especially from Big Maho, and especially from the road and parking areas just off the beach. This year we were pleasantly surprised by how little trash was left near the parking spots at Big Maho, with the exception of the handful of styrofoam food containers where it looked like people stopped to enjoy dinner and thew the container out the window of where they were parked.

What did we find? Exactly what you would expect: lots of cigarette butts (about 150 total), many many plastic sandwich bags and tinfoil (bringing lunch to the beach), cans, bottles, bottle caps, 1 pair of underwear, and lots of eating utensils. Data cards provided by the Ocean Conservancy were filled out, and ideally our findings will be shared and analyzed. With any luck our findings will result in future education, legislation, or perhaps signage at each beach - here's to thinking big!

Another interesting note were the glass bottles we found, in that only a handful were found on the beaches. The National Park does a great job of advertising and enforcing the no glass bottle rule on beaches, but unfortunately we found about 30 bottles (mostly Heineken) along the driveway to Francis beach. So technically most of the "weight" from our cleanup came from walking the road to Francis, alongside the salt pond. 

Pictured below is the group of us (minus me taking the picture) after finishing the morning at Francis.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Good Day Maho and Concordia Fans,

As promised, we do our best to keep you updated.  Many of you are concerned about the future of Maho Bay.  So, here is the story as we currently know it.

A few weeks ago, we were informed by the land owners that they have recently concluded initial discussions with a buyer for the property and they wish to send two people down to perform a site and environmental inspection.  So, two weeks ago, those people arrived.  They walked the entire property, taking pictures and samples, asking questions and taking notes.  By the end of it all, we still have no clue what is going to happen to the campground, who the buyer is or their intentions.  All that we are guaranteed is that there has been no extension for Maho Bay Camps.  Therefore, we continue to make plans for one last great season and then close our tent flaps on May 15, 2013.  This will give us time to vacate by lease end on June 30.

On the bright side of things, both Maho and Concordia have been cleaning, repairing, and replacing anything needed.  Concordia has a new deck with grills overlooking the pool and some needed boardwalk and stair repair.  New paint has also been applied along the boardwalks and in the original studios.  New linens have been ordered for both properties.  Maho has been pressure washing the boardwalks, painting the stairs and cleaning everything.  Both properties are gearing up for one of the busiest season in years due to Maho closing.  We anticipate being almost sold out for the majority of the high season.  So, please book early and visit us at Concordia or stay, one last time, at Maho.  Either way, we hope to see you here!