Friday, September 12, 2014

Blue Flag Beach – Going for a Touch Down!

North Beach - Playa Norte
Armed with rakes, shovels and large black plastic garbage bags a dozen or so hardworking ladies gather every morning on the public beaches of Isla Mujeres. It's their job to keep the sand clean. They chat, and rake, and pick up trash while bopping along to music played via their cell phones, IPODS or MP3 players. Their job is a never-ending task.

Beach cleaning crew
The current municipal administration of Isla Mujeres is working toward a Blue Flag designation for North Beach – Playa Norte. The list of requirements to obtain the coveted blue flag is extensive, and the list is reviewed every year before the status is renewed. For example a Blue Flag beach must provide full-time life guards, clean public washrooms, garbage containers, strict control of domestic animals using the beaches, clean drinking water, wheelchair accessibility, and frequent water quality sampling – to name just a few of the conditions.

New life guard tower - not staffed yet
If you have been down to North Beach recently you probably have noticed the addition of three life-guard towers and a big blue tractor-type beach-cleaning machine. The tractor operator sweeps past, combing up debris and leveling the sand very early in the morning before the concession operators set out their loungers and umbrellas for the day.

I often wonder when watching the process if the machine gathers up the lost necklaces, chains and other items that the metal-detector-wielding beachcombers usually search for. I wouldn't mind a turn at driving the tractor. Big machines fascinate me, just ask Lawrie who in the past has rented fun machines like a 32-foot-high-scissor-lift, or a Bob-Cat loader, or a Bush Hog Rotary Cutter, so I could do stuff around our property in Canada.

I want a turn driving this tractor!
However, back on Isla when our low-to-the-ground dog, Sparky, and I are ambling the shoreline giving him an opportunity to swim in the calmer water of Playa Norte I enjoy watching the preparations for obtaining a Blue Flag designation. The addition of clean, public washrooms would be a wonderful thing. It's a bit tricky right now for the crowds of folks who use the beaches. Many of the nearby restaurants are frustrated by the situation and have posted signage: restrooms are for the use of paying customers only. So what do the beach-users do when nature calls? I really don't want to know.

Busy beach!

And yes, I do carry my handy-dandy supply of puppy-poop bags to clean up the beach after Sparky, has done his business. However I am pretty sure that under the Blue Flag designation we will have to find him another location for swimming.


But seriously, North Beach is a beautiful area, enjoyed by thousands every month, and a little extra cleanup is a good thing. It a great place to hang out for the day, people-watching in the shade of a big old palm tree. A cold beverage or two helps the day along as well. Blue Flag or not, it's a beautiful location.

Pier near the Islander Beach Club location

Hasta Luego

Lynda & Lawrie

PS: when Sparky and I were doing his morning swim/walk we noticed this.  It is a boat which arrived at North Beach sometime just before dawn - filled with Cuban refugees looking for a better life.  


Cuban refugee boat arrived on North Beach early Sept 12th


3 comments:

Monica said...

You could come drive combines next summer for us :)
Great blog post as usual

Lynda Lock said...

Monica- YES!

Ann said...

It will be interesting to see if this comes to fruition. And I'm for anything that keeps the beach a little cleaner.