Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends ~
On September 4th, 1999, in the heart of nesting season we published our first newsletter. Following are the first two paragraphs of that issue:
"As of today we have collected over 108 nests. Of course, the poachers got their share of 16, while 7 other nests had been left on the beach. We hope to collect around 230 nests this year, surpassing the 1996 record of 206 nests. The greenhouse nursery has been doubled in size and now holds 144 boxes."
"The poachers broke into the nursery three times this week causing damage, ripping off the plastic roof and carrying off about 70 eggs from a nest that was over two weeks old, tasty, I'm sure. They were looking for fresh eggs in the dark, so you can imagine the damage. The first sign of problems began on August 3rd when a poacher (Jesse) tried to steal a nest out from under a volunteer who was standing on it to protect it. As we arrived in the buggy, Jesse ran off and then began to throw rocks at us as we were collecting the eggs. The poachers also robbed three other nests that night but that was not enough for them. Before we could return to the nursery with our nests they had climbed over the gate and again ransacked the nursery, taking another 70 eggs. Before it was over they had broken about 30 eggs and thrown another 50 on the floor"
As you can see, conditions then were a little spicy. Today, we enjoy a near trouble-free environment with 99.5% of the community working with us. In any case, over 1,030 nests had been recorded by the end of November. On November 15th, the first group of 324 nests within the beach nursery hatched producing a total of 8,445 hatchlings. This nursery is now receiving all new nests found and collected after November 15th while the box nursery will incubate the last of 110 nests. At this point, the box nursery held a total of 584 nests, and should produce around 47,400 hatchling at a servable rate of 84.3%, with the last nest scheduled to hatch around mid-January. The poachers have carried away about 45 nests. About 68 nests were relocated on the beach to better areas for their protection. They should yield about 5,400 hatchling.
November volunteers are Lisa (fifth year) Canada, Bethany (second time this year), Stacy and Elvira from the US and Scott and his father Rick, second year from Canada. (See image below). It is great to have volunteers up to mid December.
Upgrading the 2010 Homeowners Directory is moving along somewhat on schedule. However, both our Laser printers are in Puerto Vallarta for repairs which might delay the first publication by a week. Here are some highlights of this year’s issue: there are six new listings, nine residents have moved, there are about fifty new telephone listings and around 536 total telephone listings including commercial listing. This year's publication will contain 47 pages. If you have not emailed your information yet, please do so ASAP. (IMPORTANT!!!: let me know one-way-or-the-other, even if there is no change.)
During the off-season, the Volunteer houses are up for rent. If you or your friends are looking for a nice, inexpensive apartment, please contact Karen Elkan or Allison (firstname.lastname@example.org). Proceeds from the rental of these apartments will go directly to fund next year's marine turtle program. We would like to thank Karen and her daughter, Allison, for donating their time to help us rent these apartments.
And another reminder: in February we will conduct our second annual yard/garage sale. Starting around mid-December, we will be accepting any suitable items for sale. Simply drop them off and we will sort, clean, tag and store them.
Town-wise, most restaurants are open for the high season as are most of the gifts shops, although some shops have reduced their hours. Road construction on Avenida Tercer Mundo, between Calle Africa and Calle Ceilan, seems to be moving along on schedule. At this point, they are replacing water and sewer lines. Residents along the resurfaced sections of Tercer Mundo are doing something unusual for San Pancho; they are sweeping the street instead of watering it down.
Between November 25th and the 28th the San Pancho Spay and Neuter Clinic fixed 83 animals, mostly cats. They will conduct another clinic in six months. The clinic was founded in 1997 to provide San Pancho residents the option of free spay and neuter services. According to its founders, Judith Anderson and Betty McIntyre, the scene 15 years ago in San Pancho was streets filled with stray animals and feces covering the sidewalks and beaches. The education of "fixing" your animal or cleaning up after them was nonexistent. Their goal was to decrease the stray population and increase the quality of animal life.
Weather-wise, temperatures are mild and ranging between 70° to 81°. There has been no rain this month except for a heavy downpour on the evening of the 30th. The total rainfall this season stands at 36.5 inches. Also on the 30th, the outlet between the sea and the lagoon was closed probably until next August when storms will once again reopen it.
Generally by mid-October or November, we receive an endless stream of thin clouds out of the south Pacific. This blanket of clouds keeps night temperatures warmer by as much as six to ten degrees (providing it doesn't start to rain.) This year, the clouds arrived on the 26th of November just in time to save the box nursery from the big chill. Up until the 26th, temperatures within the nursery were dropping far too fast for comfort and without these clouds chilly temperatures could have stopped incubation and killed hundreds of hatchlings.
One other trick of Mother Nature is unnoticed by most seasonal residents. In November, storms from the northern hemisphere begin to push sand southward as each wave hits the beach. The north end of the beach shrinks by up to two feet per day, creating a steep bank that works it way south at a rate of about twenty-five feet a day while the southern end widens. Come May, the process is reversed and the north end can widen by as much as two hundred feet. Late in the season, generally in November and December, turtles instinctively know that the center of the beach is the only safe area to nest.
Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C
Mexico tel. (311) 258-4100
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, Mexico
November volunteers: Rick, Lisa, Bethany with Che
Elvira with Frida, Stacy and Scott