� by Professor Velio Vivas Valdes

Although due to the geographical position of Cozumel, northeast of the Caribbean Sean, hurricane season is from June 1st. to November 30 and that September has historically been the month when, since the previous century, more of these impact our Island, for many generations October hurricanes are those feared most by Cozumel’s residents.

On the XXth century the first October storm was in 1916; after sweeping the south coast of the then territory on the 14th, unexpectedly sinking four boats along the crew and passengers offshore, hit the Island causing material losses. In these shipwrecks 14 cozumelenians died.

The following hurricane that Island unexpectedly made landfall arrived on October 2, 1921. No deaths were reported, but it did toss to the beach more than 20 vessels that did not have enough time to seek shelter and also destroyed half a dozen waterfront homes; there was no waterfront boulevard (“malecón”) back then. Deserving a particular reference is the loss of the “John Francis”, a 3-mast graceful sailboat that sailed Cozumel to Mobile, Alabama, bringing assorted wares ¡and ice! Taking coconuts. It ran aground between streets 2 and 4 and putting it back afloat was impossible.

Some 74 years had to pass by for October to bring other storm(s). In 1995 the first one was “Opal” (by then the storms were being baptized) and on the 10th we received the visit of “Roxane”. These were only tropical storms, yet caused the first floods in populated neighborhoods.

Finally on this century we got the visit, and almost stayed among us, super-hurricane “Wilma”, which for nearly 70 hours from October 22 to the 23, 2005 it stalled over the Island destroying homes, electric and telephone networks, causing severe damages to the Punta Langosta and the “International” piers, and destroying the already named “Puerta Maya”pier. Floods in the eastern parts of the city reached historical levels as in many of the neighborhoods they exceeded 1.5 mts. Miraculously there was no loss of life.

It’s been 8 years since the last hurricane and even though more than half have already been used by this October 2013, without a doubt, many cozumelenians –including myself – are not entirely breathing easily until the morning of November 1st.

Professor Velio Vivas Valdes, the official “cronista,” or historian of the island, most notably, his publication entitled “Forjadores,” (Founders) which chronicles much of the early history of the island.  Additionally, he has written a book, which is also available on-line regarding Hurricane Wilma and Cozumel.  A Cozumel island resident since his birth here in 1943, Professor Vivas V. has published much of his writing and Cozumel’s history.

This story originally appeared in the weekly Cozumel 4 You NEWS – the island’s number one source of positive information about our island!  Be sure and subscribe to the weekly NEWS to find out all the island events!…

Laura Wilkinson

Author at Cozumel 4 You
An ex-Connecticut Yankee who has called Cozumel home for over 18 years, Laura ran away to the Caribbean years ago, bumped around the islands teaching SCUBA diving, lost some time in Jamaica, and finally stopped in Cozumel for a 2 week vacation that hasn’t ended yet. With a degree in Journalism from a fancy private college she convinced her parents to pay for, Laura writes, edits, and creates the weeklyCozumel 4 You news,social media, and promotional articles about the island, as well as moderates the Cozumel 4 You Facebook group, which currently has over 25,000 members. Her long suffering husband, Fabian, has long since resigned himself to having zero private life, as he’s been involved in her various schemes and plots since his arrival. Proud parents to a variety of rescue dogs and cats, Laura continues to be the bane of her traditional Mexican mother-in-law’s existence, as she muses her way through life in the Mexican Caribbean.
Una ex yanqui de Connecticut quien llama hogar a Cozumel desde hace más de 15 años. Laura escapó al Caribe hace años, desplazándose de una isla a otra dando clases de BUCEO. Se dedicó a perder el tiempo en Jamaica y finalmente se detuvo en Cozumel para pasar unas vacaciones de 2 semanas que aún no terminan. Convenciendo a sus padres que pagaran una elegante universidad privada, obtuvo su título en Periodismo y Laura crea semanalmente Cozumel 4You, medios sociales y artículos promocionales sobre la Isla y también es moderadora en el grupo Cozumel 4 You en Facebook que actualmente cuenta con 25,000 miembros. Fabián, s umuy tolerante marido, desde hace mucho tiempo se resignó a no tener vida privada, pues se ha visto implicado en los diversos proyectos y planes que urde Laura. Son orgullosos padres de diversos perros y gatos rescatados. Mientras contempla su paso a través de la vida en el Caribe mexicano,Laura continúa siendo la pesadilla en la existencia de su muy tradicional suegra mexicana.

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