Stumpy the iguana enjoys some cat food. Stumpy the iguana enjoys some cat food.

Beach-inertia just one challenge in paradise

One loses the desire to travel back to the frozen north

Last week, history was made. An out-of-season hurricane, Alex, was named as the first storm in the 2016 hurricane season, which incidentally doesn’t officially start until June 1.


Historical! Who needs it? Or wants it?

The good news was that Alex was a long way out in the Atlantic, more of a problem to the American eastern seaboard than it was to our tropical paradise. The possibility of lots of precipitation in the form of snow and high winds is a big concern for anyone living on the eastern side of the U.S. and Canada.

Living on a tropical island in Mexico, on the other hand, we have our own challenges.

There is the ever-present sand sifting across the floors, sticking in hair, collecting in clothes and beds. The two dogs, one cat, Lawrie and I have 16 paws or feet among us.

We track sand into the house, car and even the golf cart. The space under our computer desk is always gritty with sand, left behind by Sparky who likes to nap at our feet while we write.

Critters like scary iguanas and hermit crabs surround us as soon as we appear on the beach; mooching for food. Okay, maybe we are to blame for that as we like to feed the critters.


Then there are the beach dogs and feral cats who move in at any opportunity. Yeah, they like food, too, but want love and attention more.

The more serious stuff is the salty ocean spray, called salitre in Mexico. It sneaks in to everything, oozing into computer ports, appliance wiring, light fixtures, door and window lock mechanisms and the sliding wheels on the patio door.

Eventually the salt spray causes the demise of anything electronic. It coats stationary objects including, much to our surprise, our indoor Christmas tree. When we took the tree down this year the branches, lights and decorations were wet with salt and condensed humidity. Everything had to be washed and dried before storing for the next Christmas season.

However, one of the biggest challenges with living on the edge of the warm, salty sea is beach-inertia, the desire to never live in cold climates again. In the advanced stages of this condition you lose the desire go back north to visit family and friends.

It’s just so much work to find real clothes and real shoes and besides, the shoes just won’t fit after wearing sandals for months.

And the final challenge of living in paradise: the ever-present salitre will taint your wine unless you drink it quickly. Okay, maybe it won’t happen that fast, but it might!

So, you see, just packing up and moving to a tropical island should be thought out carefully, without alcohol involved, or you might find yourself a victim of that dreaded syndrome – beach-inertia.

As for Alex, that grumpy weather system that was threatening the Atlantic coast of America and Canada, we thought happy, sunny thoughts, as our new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau likes to do, to make the hurricane go away.

The writers are Canadians who have been full-time residents of Isla Mujeres for eight years.

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  • David Nichols

    Lynda/Lawrie…I have an office by the beach in Manzanillo and was able to solve the attack to electronics in my computer, copier and fax machine by a generous spraying of the interiors with Krylon Clear spray paint…before this my computers would usually only last 8 month to a year. The one I have now is going on 4 years without a hitch…

  • epgeorge

    I posted this on a number of Facebook Pages. The total potential readers would be in excess of 100,000