Fastest Fish Visiting the Mexican Caribbean

Non-impact observation is the best way to see these lightning fast fish / Photo: Wikimedia
Non-impact observation is the best way to see these lightning fast fish / Photo: Wikimedia

With individuals recorded at speeds of 75 km/hr, the Atlantic sailfish has one of the highest speeds recorded for aquatic animals

dato2The fastest fish in the ocean are within the group of billfishes which are large predatory fish like marlins, swordfish and sailfish. They all have a spear-like rostrum or ‘bill’ used to slash their prey and have a large dorsal fin. Billfish are found all over the world but sailfish prefer tropical and subtropical waters. Some scientists think it is only one species of sailfish worldwide, while others think there are two separated species (Pacific and Atlantic).

Sailfish is considered highly migratory. They have been known to travel as far as 3800 km in the northwest Atlantic! Their migratory patterns are likely linked to waters between 21° to 28° C. The Atlantic sailfish gathers in large groups in the Mexican Caribbean, giving us the opportunity to see them during winter.

The Atlantic sailfish can reach up to three meters and owes its name to the spectacular dorsal fin which stretches nearly the length of its body. It can also streamline itself by retracting it into a groove in the dorsal side of its body. It is thought they use the dorsal fin to herd fish, make itself look bigger to fend off predators, cool down after periods of high activity, and to increase body stability while swimming and hunting.

They are usually found in the upper layers of water but can go as deep as 200 meters. Although they usually do not exceed speeds of 36 km/hr, individuals have been monitored at speeds of 75 km/hr which is one of the highest speeds reported for aquatic animals! It is primarily caught in sport and artisanal fishing, and declines have been observed in Central America, Iran and India. However, despite its importance in sport fishery, there are no stock assessments or reliable landings data to understand the species and the threats it may face.

Although it is a highly prized game fish due to its size, strength, jumps, and speed, non-impact observation of the amazing wildlife we get to see through snorkeling tours seems a better approach to me than chasing and/or killing these amazing predators through any sort of fishery. For a bit more information:


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

Holy Week and Easter in Mexico

Semana Santa starts here this weekend. The town will start to fill up this weekend, and will be packed all next week. It is like Spring Break on steroids, and a sight to see.

Costa Maya Mahahual

Semana Santa Traditions

Updated March 23, 2016.

Semana Santa (Holy Week) is the week leading up to Easter. This is a very important holiday in Mexico. Religious celebrations are at the forefront, but it’s also a time when Mexican families head to the beaches and tourist attractions.Most schools have two weeks vacation at this time, both Semana Santa and the following week, which is referred to as Semana de Pascua.

Dates of Semana Santa:

Semana Santa runs from Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos) to Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua), but since students (and some workers) enjoy a two-week break at this time, the full week preceding Easter as well as the following week comprise the Semana Santa holiday. Find out the dates of Semana Santa, which vary from year to year.

Travel During Holy Week:

Since schools in Mexico have a two-week vacation…

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You know you’re in Mexico when…

Today some Mexican culture and humor from the Matador Network.  I subscribe to the Matador Network and they have some really good articles, and some excellent writers. They give insight to life in Mexico, as seen through their writers eyes, some are Mexican natives, and some are expats.

1. “Madre” becomes a good thing, a bad thing, practically anything, but also your mother.

2. You can stop a bus wherever you want, as if it were a cab.

3. Everyone around you is wearing an overwhelming amount of hair products.

4. People laugh at you because you said you love chile or longaniza.

5. Sanitation workers are equipped with a bell, a donkey or both.

6. Every celebration is overtaken at some point by a chiquiti bum… and everyone there knows the whole incomprehensible litany.

7. You order a beer and you are asked if you want it “normal.” The opposite of normal can range from a little lime and salt, to an assortment of sauces, chili, tomato juice and maybe even some gummy bears… or shrimp… for real.

8. Someone gets his face smashed into a birthday cake and everybody applauds.

9. Your Spanish skills are immediately put to the test with two common and apparently simple concepts: limón and lima.

10. Fireworks become a totally acceptable substitute for an alarm clock, especially if you have a church nearby (and you’ll have a church nearby).

11. The same goes to the military band of your nearest school.

12. You have to stop your car in the middle of a lonely road because some guys are asking for money for a quinceañera party or for painting the local church. They use a piece of rope to stop random cars and have the quinceañera right there as proof of their good intentions.

13. The first cut in a birthday cake is a circle around its center and nobody has a convincing explanation for this.

14. Fresh made tortillas are available from specialized shops everywhere.

15. People suddenly forget what punctuality means… and you quickly follow the trend.

16. You look both sides of the road even when the crossing light is green.

17. It doesn’t matter what you’re having for breakfast, you’ll get a side of either papaya or frijolitos.

18. You’ll either be greeted with some superb coffee from Chiapas or with water for Nescafe.

19. The wall in front of you is painted with political propaganda, some party info featuring Polymarchs or a moralizing message from the virgencita.

20. Four people hanging from ropes cast themselves into the abyss from the top of a giant pole while playing drums and flutes and everybody acts as if that were perfectly normal.

21. Every single restaurant offers “something else”, like “tacos, tostadas… and something else.”


Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina

European Back Packer Time of Year in Mahahual, Mexico

I did a post yesterday with some photos of some hippies coming through Mahahual, and I got several questions and comments. I forget sometimes that I am constantly getting new readers on this blog, and maybe have not read any of my past articles about life here. I got one question asking what is the “European Hippie Back Pack Tour”, I have mentioned in several posts. So I went in the archives and found a story I did about that 3 years or so ago. So here is the answer to that question. They are not necessarily “hippies” in the true sense, I just don’t know how else to describe them.
They have long hair, don’t bathe much, live communally, don’t work much, just to eat, and fit all the criteria that I learned about hippies growing up in the 60s. I know when they walk by on the malecon, all the Mexicans here say “hippie” under their breaths, so that is the term I adopted. I mean they have no political agenda, like hippies in the USA, just the lifestyle. I have met a bunch of them, nice people, just different.

Costa Maya Mahahual

This time of year in Mahahual and through out Quintana Roo and Mexico, backpackers from Europe descend on the area.  Young men and women from all over Europe visit Mexico a lot during the months of May and June.  A lot of Europeans choose to travel through Mexico and other parts of Central America after they get out of school, or take a vacation from their jobs.  They fly into Cancun usually and embark south for places like Tulum, Bacalar, Playa del Carmen, and even Mahahual.

They have back packs and usually stay in hostels, or camp out along the way.  Most of the European backpackers stay for a couple of months, and try to see and experience as much as they can during their travels.  A lot are attracted by the Mayan ruins, while some just love Mexico’s beaches and the natural beauty and friendly people.  They start off…

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It is That Time of Year Again

Well it is that time of year again, hippie season in Mahahual.  Every spring, about this time of year, after the snows start to melt up north, hippies from Europe and the USA start showing up in Mahahual.

Hippie van showing up in Mahahual, loaded with hippies.

Hippies chilling out.

Some of the hippies perform music, juggle, and other things to try to make money to survive.  They show up every year about this time, and leave before it gets too hot.

One of the hippie girls doing belly dancing on the malecon.

Another thing I find interesting is, most of the “snow bird” expats are leaving, or have already left to go back up north.  It seems the hippies show up as soon as the “snow birds” head back up north, I wonder if there is a correlation there.

Also Semana Santa starts this weekend, so we will be having college students from all over Mexico here next week on spring break.  So the next two weeks should be very interesting here in Mahahual, stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South carolina

Update on my Medical Condition

Jessica Watts from Myrtle Beach, SC in black top, Casey Cleffi from Manasquan, NJ with me yesterday. They are both University of South Carolina co-eds.

Well my Facebook and blog diagnosis is in, I am pretty sure I have a hiatal hernia.  I put my symptoms out on Facebook and this blog, and I got a lot of good response, and even some advice from three or four doctors.  What I have learned lately is, no matter how unique you think your symptoms or medical problems are, there is somebody out there who has them before.

As some of you regular readers may know, I posted about my current stomach problems this past week, and I got a lot of good responses.  I was baffled with my condition, but after talking to several doctors, and reading what others had to say, I think I have figured out what I have.  After reading some opinions of my Facebook friends, and some blog readers, I did my research, and it appears hiatal hernia is what I got.  All the symptoms match, and after staying up all night the other night doing research, so I am relieved I now know what my problem is.

Here are some of the diagnosis I got on this blog, and on Facebook, some are quite interesting.

“the good news is you have a consistency of symptoms, and the reactive episode has a start and end as the body flushes out perhaps a toxin?

Most researchers would examine first your environment, then what you ear and drink, looking for a clue.

what has your life have in common this past tear? The place you live in Ka..something or other, thats the one consistent place but what else. you tend to eat at the same places and the same food. Keep a dairy of your daily conssumption, when and what. and where, is there any toxic gases or smells or chemicals at the Ka? paint,

Your food? by keeping a dairy you might identify triggers, your environment might have triggers. only keeping a dairy can help you identify triggers.. Good luck stewart. sounds awful… sounds like a toxin or a parasite or a bacteria.”

“Everyday Health » Gallbladder » Symptoms
Symptoms of Gallbladder Problems
By Diana RodriguezMedically Reviewed by Robert Jasmer, MD
The gallbladder isn’t an organ that gets a lot of attention — unless it’s causing you pain.

The gallbladder is a little sac that stores bile from the liver, and it’s found just beneath your liver.

The gallbladder releases bile, via the cystic duct, into the small intestine to help break down the foods you eat — particularly fatty foods.

Typically the gallbladder doesn’t cause too many problems or much concern, but if something slows or blocks the flow of bile from the gallbladder, a number of problems can result.

What Can Go Wrong

Some common gallbladder problems include:

Gallstones (cholelithiasis): This is the name of the condition when small stones, or sometimes larger ones, develop inside the gallbladder.

Gallstones may cause pain known as biliary colic (see below), but about 90 percent of people with gallstones will have no symptoms.

Most symptomatic gallstones have been present for a number of years.

For unknown reasons, if you have gallstones for more than 10 years, they are less likely to cause symptoms.

Biliary colic: This is the term often used for the severe episodes of pain that can be caused by gallstone blockage of the cystic duct.

The gallbladder contracts vigorously against the blockage, causing spasmodic (or sometimes constant) severe pain.

Biliary colic episodes usually last only an hour or two. They may recur infrequently, often years apart.

Inflamed gallbladder (cholecystitis): Inflammation of the gallbladder can be caused by gallstones, excessive alcohol use, infections, or even tumors that cause bile buildup.

But the most common cause of cholecystitis is gallstones.

The body can react to the gallstone irritation by causing the gallbladder walls to become swollen and painful.

The episodes of inflammation can last for several hours, or even a few days. Fever is not unusual.

About 20 percent of the time, the sluggish, inflamed gallbladder is invaded by intestinal bacteria, and becomes infected.

Occasionally, the gallbladder actually ruptures, which is a surgical emergency.

Suspected episodes of cholecystitis always require medical attention, particularly if fever is present.

Dysfunctional gallbladder or chronic gallbladder disease: Here, the gallbladder may become rigid and scarred from gallstones and repeated episodes of inflammation.

Symptoms are more constant, but tend to be vague, including abdominal fullness, indigestion, and increased gas.

Chronic diarrhea is a common symptom, usually occurring after meals, and up to 10 times per day.

Common Gallbladder Symptoms

Specific symptoms may vary based on what type of gallbladder condition you have, although many symptoms are common among the different types of gallbladder problems.

But most gallbladder symptoms start with pain in the upper abdominal area, either in the upper right or middle.

Below are common symptoms of gallbladder conditions:

Severe abdominal pain
Pain that may extend beneath the right shoulder blade or to the back
Pain that worsens after eating a meal, particularly fatty or greasy foods
Pain that feels dull, sharp, or crampy
Pain that increases when you breathe in deeply
Chest pain (angina)
Heartburn, indigestion, and excessive gas
A feeling of fullness in the abdomen
Vomiting, nausea, fever
Shaking with chills
Tenderness in the abdomen, particularly the right upper quadrant
Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
Stools of an unusual color (often lighter, like clay)

Some gallbladder problems, like simple gallstones that are not blocking the cystic duct, often cause no symptoms at all.

They’re most often discovered during an X-ray or CT scan that’s performed to diagnose a different condition, or even during an abdominal surgery.

If you spot any symptoms of gallbladder trouble, head to your doctor for a diagnosis and prompt treatment to get your digestive tract running smoothly again.”

“Hey Stewart,
I had similar symptoms but not quite so severe as yours. I tried restricting foods, the time I’ve eaten food, to narrow down the possibilities, nothing worked. But when I quit taking my multivitamin , a daily routine before work , it stopped after a short period of time. I couldn’t absorb the iron. I’m not a doctor, but I hope it something this simple.
Michigan John”

“Similar symptoms until one day I felt like I was having contractions. Lol. I thought I’m dying. Went to ER had emergency surgery to remove gall bladder. All fine and better after that. 10 years ago and never another related problem. Can you see a DR in Chetumal maybe with more experience with this sort of thing where they can do some testing? So sorry you are having such discomfort.”

“I second the other opinions try a GI specialist or get your gallbladder looked at somehow.”

“I would suggest a stress EKG. Inferior myocardial angina can present like this. Agree with gall bladder investigation.You might want to go to Clinico Carranza in Chetumal to rule out these things”

“I say,possible Hiatal hernia. I have one from a past surgery, similar symptoms.”

Ding-Ding, we have the winner with hiatal hernia from Christina Connolly.

“Stew, have you ever had your gall bladder tested to see if it is active/healthy . Some, not all of your symptoms sound like a gall bladder related issue ( possibly ) Had to have mine out last year.”

“Did they make a Laparoscopy to see if it may be an Hiatal Hernia?”  From my doctor friend on Facebook Dr. Marlon Avalos, he works for Costa Med, I think.

“I had this. They removed my gall bladder. And also talked about the hiatal hernia. Don’t eat after six, drink ice water, sleep in a upright position, drainage seems to make mine go crazy. You have to find out what makes yours act up. Soda pop. Cigarettes and alcohol are all no no. It seems the best thing that helps me is chewable pink Pepto bismal.”

“Try to eliminate all dairy from your diet, it causes the production of mucus and acidity in the body, it will definitely make you feel better. I have reflux and had my esophagus burnt because of the acid and had constant gastritis, also because of chronic stress. When I eliminated dairy from my diet, reflux and gastritis was gone. And of course follow up on the advice of the doctor to get a better diagnosis with the laparoscopy and other tests that will help to reach a diagnosis. Most doctors don’t tell you to eliminate dairy but it has been proven to be beneficial.”

“i have a friend who is going through the same thing right now. After all the tests and shit her doctors have prescribed her anti depressants.”

So after all these responses and my research, I think I now know what I am up against. So me being a natural holistic kind of guy, I decided to check out if there were any natural ways to treat a hiatal hernia.  I mean I live right in the heart of Maya land, so I went to find out if there are any natural remedies, and come to find out there are.

So the other day I went out and bought me some cinnamon and ginger to take, because that is good to help close hiatal hernia.  Other natural remedies are licorice, and chamomile tea, which I will have to get from Chetumal.  I also came across this natural remedy and exercise.

How to Fix a Hiatal Hernia


If you have a hiatal hernia, you probably experience the horrible burning in your chest associated with heartburn and acid reflux after most meals. I’d like to offer a simple, natural solution for your mealtime discomfort.

But first, a quick explanation of what’s happening: Your diaphragm separates the organs in your chest from your stomach and other digestive organs. But in the case of a hiatal hernia, your stomach has breached the divide, worming its way through an enlarged hole at the back of the diaphragm that allows the esophagus to go from the throat to the stomach. The only solution is to get your stomach out of the hole. Here’s how you do it without surgery and in a quick morning exercise:

  • Drink a glass of room temperature or slightly warm water when you get out of bed in the morning. (Skip the coffee, tea, juice, and cold water—just drink warm water.)
  • While standing, bring your arms straight out from your sides and bend your elbows so your hands are touching your chest.
  • Stand up on your toes as high as possible and drop down. You should get a pretty good jolt. Drop down like this 10 times continuously.
  • Then, while standing with your arms up in the air, breathe short quick breaths with your mouth open for about 15 seconds. That’s it.

You are essentially forcing your stomach out of the hole. The warm water acts as a weight in the stomach, while relaxing the stomach muscles as well. The breathing at the end helps close the diaphragm and the hole where your stomach was lodged.

As long as you have a hiatal hernia, this is an exercise you’ll have to do every morning to put an end to you acid reflux problems. But, there are other natural solutions to more minor cases of heartburn and acid reflux like eating ginger or licorice.

So I have been doing these exercises every morning, and they seem to be working, I have not had any problems in three days.  I am even chewing on cinnamon sticks, and having a couple teaspoons  of ground ginger in a glass of water a couple of times a day, and so far I have had no problems.

Friday night I was watching the Gamecocks win in March Madness, and the whole game I was chewing on cinnamon sticks, and drinking water with ginger, I thought that was kind of funny.  No beer or liquor for this old man, just cinnamon and ginger water, with my sports on TV.

So for the time being, I think I have a handle on my medical problem, or at least know what it is.

Thanks for reading,

Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina