It is with some sadness and a huge sense of accomplishment that we report our last scheduled patrol of the season (30 April 2019). We’ve been patrolling daily since last July and the season is now at its’ end. Your blogging couple here drew the lucky stick and was on the schedule for the last day!
We will still do random patrols a couple of times each week just to check for late comers, and to check on the beach. Of course, we will continue to respond to calls from our locals who see turtles or tracks (call 755.121.1021), so if you see something – say something!
Preparation for Patrol.
As we wrap up the season, we thought it would be interesting and/or fun to report our statistics and to relate some of our patrol stories.
We volunteers have finished a patrol with as many as 20-something nests, we’ve come back empty-handed, and everything in between. We have been hot. We have been cold. We have been dry and wet. We have seen multiple mamas on the beach in one night and gone days or longer without seeing one. And we have loved every minute!
We have found nests with the first poke of our stick (think mic-drop!) and poked, poked, poked to the point of almost giving up when we found the soft spot (think falling forward because you are not expecting it).
In addition to the turtles we saw this year, we had some wonderful and some oddball things show up on the beach at night. We’ve seen crocodile tracks (thankfully no crocodiles close-up!), giant drawings left behind by vacationers, wandering horses, skunks, lots of dogs, a variety of deceased sea life, and an amazing amount of night sky events. We’ve seen huge orange full moons, shooting stars, total blackness providing a great view of the Milky Way, planets looking down on us, clear bright skies and skies with clouds and rain. And on this very last patrol, we got to see a neon blue show of bioluminescence created by red tide in the rolling waves! So amazing!
Oddest things left behind on the beach:
The new night-time perspective of our beautiful beach is priceless.
Volunteer Steve says “I think the thing I enjoyed most was taking volunteers and visitors out on patrol and seeing their faces when they had that National Geographic moment. That and the turtle releases, handing out the babies to the kids. I asked one little girl what she named her turtle, and she looked at me with determination and said “Bob”…. well, ok then…”
Wendy says “We love the peacefulness. Loved the design tracks of different turtles- Golfina prints grazing the sand surface/ Prieta engraving the sand/ Laud took the farm tractor for a spin!
National Geographic moments were coming along a turtle, watching her lay her eggs and seeing her return to the ocean and then when we dug the eggs out how warm the nest was and holding the eggs with gloved hand to rebury. Very magical to see the fruits of our labor of love producing turtles 45 days later.
Most surprising live creatures (other than turtles) we encountered:
We (Patty and Mitchell) had a hotel caretaker wave us down to let us know a turtle had been there. He had noted the exact spot and was waiting for the patrol to pass by, as he knew we always do. Later in the season we came upon him keeping dogs away from a mama turtle so she could crawl safely to the sea! These interactions certainly restore one’s faith in the human race.
We found and returned a cell phone to a night reveler who lost his phone on the beach. We are pretty sure we got him in trouble with his girlfriend by our good Samaritan efforts! Apparently, she did not know he had been to a party on the beach.
We lost a metal water bottle one night and the next night’s team found it which goes to show how quiet our beach can be.
A sample of deceased creatures (other than turtles) we encountered:
Counts for the season starting in July 2018
Logged items (this includes any sighting or evidence of a turtle on the beach, live or deceased)
Nests rescued – 1,084
Eggs collected – 97,046
Turtles encountered (live) – 121
Turtles tagged – 68
Turtles encountered (deceased) – 26
Nests poached by dogs – 113
Nests poached by humans – 127
Turtles poached (killed) by dogs – 3
Turtles poached (taken) by humans – 2
We are already making plans for next season, talking about changes and/or improvements we can make. Some things are in process now and will be a reality before we get started next season and some are pie-in-the-sky dreams.
One thing we would love to improve upon next year is our patrol frequency. Currently, we are limited by both funds and manpower to doing one patrol per night. With 2 patrols on a given night, we hope that we can decrease the poaching numbers. You can see in the above list that we have lost 240 nests to dog and human poachers combined this year. Since the poachers don’t always come out when we are around, more of us means less of them!
To that end, if you are local, please consider joining our team. There are many ways to get involved! We think patrol is great fun, but if going out in the middle of the night is not for you, we have lots of other volunteer opportunities. Maybe helping out at releases, or the Ecotianguis in Zihuatanejo is more up your alley? We can also have ‘desk jobs’ (reporting, marketing, blog writing, and more) if you are not able to come on-site!
If you are not local, won’t you consider becoming a sustaining member? This will help us put gas in the ATV tanks and keep them both running.
Thank you all for your love and support this season!
If you are still in town, we do still have hatchlings on the schedule for the next 45 days or so. Check our Facebook page for release announcements.