Part of the massive bloom of sargassum that has been tracked with satellite imagery made landfall yesterday on the coast of Quintana Roo, depositing tonnes of the seaweed on beaches — and delivering a surprise for local law enforcement.
The seaweed began arriving early in the morning on beaches in Tulum and Playa del Carmen as was forecast by the Cancún-based sargassum monitoring network, based on data provided by the Optical Oceanography Laboratory at the University of Southern Florida.
Municipal workers in Solidaridad — where Playa del Carmen is located — used heavy machinery to remove the mounds of seaweed.
There were tourists on the beaches despite the presence of the seaweed, but tourism businesses in the region fear that the two-week-long Easter vacation could end on a negative note.
Among those tourists was a group in Playa del Carmen who made a call yesterday morning to the 911 emergency service to report the discovery of two mysterious packages wrapped in packing tape and tangled in the seaweed on the beach.
Federal Police officers arrived at the scene and found 4.9 kilograms of marijuana in the packages.