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Some beaches, ports open after mar de fondo phenomenon

Cancun, Q.R. — Many beach areas from Cancun to Playa del Carmen were off limits Sunday and Monday as the effects of Hurricane Irma made its way to the Mexican coast.

While some beach areas continue to experience the mar de fondo phenomenon, Civil Protection officials say it is with less intensity. Cancun beaches seemed to suffer the unusual phenomenon more than Playa del Carmen, while other areas such as Tulum were not affected at all.

The unusual maritime-meteorological phenomenon, which saw an extreme rise in tidal levels in the Caribbean Sea from the effects caused by hurricane Irma, remained present along local coasts where throughout the day, strong waves were observed in areas where normally it is calm. The hardest hit in the region was Isla Mujeres as the island registered intense swells that remain and could last until Wednesday.

One of the hardest hit in Cancun was Playa Torgutas at kilometer 6.5 of the Cancun Hotel Zone, where for the past two days, sea water continually invaded beach restaurants and shops as well as road access. Employees spend much of Monday digging trenches around restaurant eating areas rather than serving food.

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According to Adrián Martínez Ortega of state Civil Protection, today ports are partially open to minor navigation, while beaches remain red flagged. While lagoon activities such as swimming, boating and snorkeling resume normally, open sea activities such as parasailing, parachuting and whale shark tours as well as activities with wave runners, remain suspended.

He says that while there is no alert for the coast of Quintana Roo, Civil Protection authorities maintain their constant monitoring for bathers and boats as this condition is expected to stick around for at least two more days.