*EDITORIAL* The Green Mile of Holbox

On my way from Cancun city, on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, to Holbox Island in the Quintana Roo State North IOTA group, I had 3 hours to think about how I might reduce the carbon footprint of my pending dx adventure for 10DA/NA-045.

IOTA_DARC_logo_official_transparentI saw many things throughout my journey in one of the world’s most important ecological regions — even more than with us in Europe — how the locals protect their environment and conserve it for future generations.  I couldn’t help but be impressed!

Mexicans, on the first view, are not really caring about their nature and environmental issues.  But this was just a superficial view from my side and one that needed adjustment.

When I first arrived, they appeared to use for everything a plastic bag.  I saw so many in places like the supermarket, being carried in the street, etc. that I was concerned about the impact this would be having on the local waterways; on the local marine life like sea turtles, dolphins, eagle rays, whale sharks, etc. who can easily mistake a plastic bag floating in the sea as a jellyfish and swallow it whole.


But the more I left the huge city of Cancun, a major world-renowned tourist destination, the more I could see what the local communities are doing and how they’re living — closer to nature than we would ever believe if we would not see it with our own eyes.

bird-island-holbox-3Now, as I approached the island across the dark tint of the waters of the Yalahau Lagoon, it was time to think about what I could do — as an environmentally conscious member of the DA-RC and as a visiting DXpeditioner to this environmentally fragile ecosystem.

The most important thing here, I had learned, was not to use so much water.  Water is one of the most important goods we have — not only with us in Europe — but even more so in South and middle America.


I booked a small ‘ham friendly’ house with a colourful thatched roof of Caribbean-style, in a picturesque park, close to one of the pristine white coralline beaches.  Water there was only needed for showering and washing.

None was needed for the toilet either (Pictured right).  It was just make your business and throw some wood chippings behind it.  It’s not smelling at all and it’s clean.  

This process saves a lot of water and I was more than happy to do it if it meant contributing to environmental sustainability.

The water for showering and washing clothes, etc. was heated up with solar panels as you can see.  200 liters of water in a tank was enough for 1 person and I never had cold water.

Despite longing for a walking trip, more than 50% of the Island I could not see due to environment protection measures in place here as part of the Yum-Balam Biosphere Reserve.

holbox-1On this note, it’s not permissible to enter some parts of Holbox and it’s absolutely forbidden to enter some of the other Islands in the group such as Contoy and Mujeres.  A fixed penalty payment of up to $10000 US or jail time, for instance, applies if you enter any area off limits.

As motorized transport was virtually non-existent on the island, another measure put in place to reduce pollution, a solution was a boat trip which was not expensive.  Apart from riding a bicycle, it was the only way to see some of the virgin seascapes with their fragile flora and fauna.


It’s amazing what I saw from my position on the vessel as we crossed the shallow lagoon between the mainland and the island. 

There were so many unique species of birds (more than 150 I later learned), of different colors,  shapes and sizes, living in harmony where no one will interfere in their life.  

They looked like they knew their bonus in that area too I thought.

This synchronized bird community of graceful pink flamingos (Pictured right), white and brown pelicans, double-crested cormorants, snowy and reddish egrets, roseate spoonbills and boatbilled herons, caused me also to reflect on how we, as humans, interact with each other… 

The whole time, I did not see a single bird yelling to another because of his different colored feathering; the way he walks, squawks, the fish he eats or the other birds in his company.  Why can’t we do that?

Why is it so difficult for humans to be respectful of people who look a little different to themselves; people who do not share the same set of beliefs, values and customs to our own?


The whole world could be a “Protection Area for human goods” I pondered.  That was just my thought when I saw all the different animals living together in peace and harmony.

We sometimes speak of animals and describe their behavior in “derogatory” terms but the way I see it, they’ve a good reason to think the other way around about humans.

Time to go I think, back to my house.  I’m still impressed about what I’ve seen.  

I watch my transceiver and think, “it’s good I have this hobby, a little world in the scheme of life but one which allows me to experience small unspoiled islands like this one, different cultures and many friends, no matter where they come from or the circumstances in which they live.

 We’re all friends who’ll meet one day, I hope. If not here on Earth, but perhaps somewhere else.

73 de Uli 13DA-110