Cancún Beach Recovery

Miracle workers

March 7th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

What a difference a few days make.

Looking south from the Cancun Palace - photo: Mel On Friday (March 3rd), the ‘view’ in front of the Cancún Palace was of waves licking at the hotel boundary wall (photo: Jim Wehrle).

Today, the transformation is nothing short of miraculous (see photo, right).

Bulldozers are today smoothing out the recycled sand in front of hotel Le Meridien (photo), the Golden Crown Paradise and Ritz Carlton (photo).

Special thanks to Mel Zelniker who took these photos earlier this afternoon along the stretch of Cancún’s beach known as Playa Ballenas.

Beach recovery reaches the Marriotts

March 3rd, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

The beach recovery teams are currently working in front of the Grand Melia Cancún (scheduled to re-open at the end of this month) and the CasaMagna Marriott (June 1st).

Jim Wehrle took this photo today from in front of the Palace hotel (no beach whatsoever). Looking south, the JW Marriott (May 1st) can clearly be seen… and in the distance, the earth moving equipment working the beach at the Grand Melia.

This photo shows the bulldozers working in front of the CasaMagna Marriott.

The second dredger – the Barent Zanen – has also now arrived, but I expect progress to slow a little as this stretch of the beach was washed away completely.

Did the earth move for you?

February 28th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

I’ve updated this page to take into account the speedy beach recovery to date.

Beach recovery in front of the Royal Islander photo Lee TaylorNote that no timetable for the work has been made public, so these dates remain my best guesstimate.

Cancún’s beach reclamation project looks well on schedule to finish before April 30th, the ‘delivery’ date in Jan de Nul’s contract.

Lee Taylor took this photo (right) a few days ago during a brief sojourn at the Royal Islander.

I have to admit, I’ve become a beach recovery photo junkie. I’m no marine engineer [laughs], but I’ve found the whole spectacle… well, a spectacle.

Another photo

I do not think I’m the only one finding myself ‘lusting’ over "trailing suction"…

Beach recovery moves up a gear

February 23rd, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, Photos

Beach recovery at the Royal Islander photo James WehrleHills of sand are already appearing in front of the Royal Islander as phase two of the beach reclamation project starts ahead of schedule.

Kudos to Royal Resorts as one of the very few to regularly post news updates online. Their website even features a short video of the beach recovery teams at work earlier this month.

Another photo.

Westin latest for sand nourishment

February 20th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún

Jim Wehrle snapped this photo of the newly-widened beach in front of the Westin Resort & Spa yesterday afternoon (Feb. 19th).

Jan de Nul working in front of the Westin photo Jim WehrleThe beach recovery crews have now moved on in the direction of Club Med. We reckon they are slightly ahead of schedule, according to our ‘unofficial’ timetable.

Jim can also vouch that Jan de Nul are working flat out. The dredger – the Filippo Brunelleschi – anchored right off the beach, close to where he lives… journeying back and forth during the night.

A second dredger is expected to arrive later this week, ready for the start of the second phase of the project.

Fox: “No more money for beaches”

February 17th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún

Cancun Beach Reclamation Project photo: James Wehrle Sheltering from a persistent February rain, President Vicente Fox had a gloomy message for those hoping to hear a commitment to cough up the extra 160m pesos (US$15m) needed to widen the beach to fully 60m.

Fox adopted a ‘wait and see’ tone. "Let’s finish this phase first."

The president spent 35 minutes observing the bulldozers at work and a choppy sea from a vantage point within the boundary walls of the Sun Palace hotel. He waited (in vain) for the dredger to appear with the next load of sand.

Tourism Secretary, Rodolfo Elizondo Torres, director of Fonatur, John McCarthy, and a gaggle of state and local funcionarios, all accompanied Fox.

“Cancún está de pie”, exulted the…

In brief…

Added this page to record progress made…and the possible timeline for the Cancún beach reclamation project.

In brief…

President Vicente Fox will inspect the progress made to recover Cancún’s beaches on Thursday, reports El Diario de Yucatán.

The president will head to the Sun Palace hotel – where sand is currently being pumped onshore – around 11:15am.

Led by Jesús Almaguer Salazar, president of the Cancún Hotels Association, hotel representatives will press Fox on whether the federal government will pledge any more money into the project to extend the resort’s hotel strip beach out to 60m.

  • See my guesstimate for how the beach restoration will progress

Cancún beach photos

February 14th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Photos

The first phase of Cancún’s beach reclamation project (El Mirador to Punta Nizuc) nears completion as the earth-moving  equipment and piping is moved towards the Westin (View a map).


Many thanks to Jim Wehrle who took these photos on February 13th and 14th.

I recommend that you browse through all Jim’s photos in slideshow format.

Hotel guests stand watch over Cancún beach spectacle

February 6th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún

Novedades - Feb 5th, 2006A couple of days ago, waves lapped against the hotel boundary wall. But yesterday it was the turn of guests lounging around the Crown Paradise pool to marvel at the fevered activity on the beach. 

The ‘Filippo Brunelleschi’ has been toing and froing between the area where the sand has accumulated in banks on the seabed, and Cancún where the vacuumed sand is pumped onshore.

According to Sunday’s edition of Novedades, the dredger makes five round trips over a 24-hour period.

Two bulldozers have the task of distributing the fresh sand uniformly along the beach – at a rate of 200 metres a day.

‘Recycled’ sand pumped onto Cancún beach

February 1st, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Photos

Sand, sand, glorious sand…

Jan De Nul’s managing director, Marc Verhaert, Mexico’s Tourism Secretary, Rodolfo Elizondo Torres and Quintana Roo state Governor, Félix González Canto, were all present at a brief ceremony held on Playa Delfines this morning.

At 10:30am, Cancún time, Elizondo symbolically dio el ‘banderazo’ – waved the flag – to signal for the sand pumping to start.

There was a momentary hush as the 22-inch pipe belonging to the Belgian maritime engineering group first spewed out a mouthful of murky water. This was quickly replaced by cheers and applause as the first recycled sand gushed onto terra firma.

Many thanks to Jim Wehrle who was on the spot shortly afterwards to capture these neat hills…

In brief…

Eliza Barclay uncovers some new facts about Cancún’s "beach nourishment" project, including the measures taken to minimise the impact on the local environment.

"In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert excised a 130-foot chunk [of beach], which conveniently formed the very sandbank Jan de Nul will be dredging to form the new beach." - attributed to Julián Adame Miranda, an engineer supervising the reclamation project for the [Mexican] government.

Less profoundly, The Economist magazine publishes a succinct article in its Jan. 28th issue entitled "Halfway Back", which far from being ‘premium content’, says nothing that you cannot already read here for free!

Cancún’s beaches should start to get fresh sand from Jan. 30th

January 24th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún

Belgian maritime engineering and construction giant Jan De Nul has begun to assemble machinery and equipment ready for the restoration of miles of Cancún’s beaches washed away by Hurricane Wilma three months ago.

Beach in front of the Hotel Le MeridienThis is what I know so far about the Cancún Beach Reclamation Project: 

The first ‘reclaimed’ sands will begin to be vacuumed onto the beach before the end of January.
Approximately 2.7m cubic meters of sand will be dredged from two offshore sandbanks to replenish the 12 km strip from Punta Cancún to Punta Nizuc (view a map).
Operations will start along this stretch of beach in front of the Hilton Cancún Golf & Spa Resort and move south, in the direction of Punta Nizuc.

Details emerge of plans to restore Cancún beaches

January 16th, 2006 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún

Tourism Minister Rodolfo Elizondo Torres will be in Cancún today to oversee the start of the ambitious project to recover miles of beaches lost to Wilma.

As I reported last month, around four miles (6.5km) of the area’s fifteen miles of beaches were swept away during the hurricane. At least another five miles suffered severe erosion.

Details of the project have been difficult to obtain, but more information is expected to be released today.

However, I understand that beach restoration will start from the Westin Resort at the southern end of Hotel Zone (Punta Nizuc), and work north towards Punta Cancún. (View a map).

Engineers will try to ensure that disturbance to hotel guests is…

Cancún beach recovery to start in January

December 23rd, 2005 by Steve Bridger filed under Cancún Beach Recovery, Cancún, News

Cancún’s ongoing post-Wilma recovery efforts will shift into high gear on January 16th with the start of efforts aimed at restoring over 12km of powder-white sands eroded by the October hurricane.

Funded by an initial investment of around US$20 million, Belgian maritime engineering and construction firm Jan De Nul beat off four other contenders to win the rebuilding contract, and will be also be charged with maintaining the sand after it has been replaced.

Between two and 2.8 million cubic meters of sand will be dredged from ‘La Ollita’ and ‘Megarizaduras’, two sandbanks lying in the deeper waters of the Bahia de Mujeres, and deposited on the Hotel Zone beaches.

The work is scheduled to be…