Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends ~
September 1st through the 25th has always been one hellish, time of the year. It is the peak of the nesting season, and on top of everything else, this year we’ve recorded 225 nests over all other years, causing the box nursery to fill to capacity as it has at this time for the past ten years.
When the box nursery fills to capacity around September 1st, the “second group” of 258 nests must be placed in the beach nursery, all within a period of three weeks. This time we used a special method we call the “tube”, although we will not know if this experiment worked until October 14th. Whatever happens its got to better than 7.5% survival rate we received from the “first group” of 50 nests. The new method corrects the heat, moisture and air flow levels that are crucial within the first twelve days of incubation. Except for several heavy periods of rain in early and late September, there had been no other adverse weather conditions or waves to hamper these nests.
The score, 1,036 nests had been recorded by October 1st, of that number, 600 were placed in the box nursery. Nests left on the beach or moved to better locations came to 90. Nests taken by poachers came to 34 and nests placed in the beach nursery came to 309.
At the beginning of the season we received a donation of sixty thick wall styrofoam nest boxes, at the time we were not sure how they would incubate the nests. When that day came forty-five days later we found that the eggs could not breathe because the box lid was air tight, which causing a mortality rate averaging about 21% --well above the normal 11% of the other two boxes we use. Despite the loss, the overall survival rate of all boxes came to 89%.
Volunteer-wise, September volunteers for the entire month: Joslin and Summer Bertrand, Tom Hofmann, Kym Gardnir, Chuck Dewitt, Gale Greer and Lorren Garlichs, Jim and Linda Sorter. Joining us in mid-month is Sabrina Frank from Germany. (See photos below.)
On top of the extra expenses of reconstructing both nurseries, and the buggy after the fire, we now have the expense of replacing the buggy engine. On September 27th the buggy’s oil pump failed and within an hour the motor was damaged to the point that it had to be replaced. With the help of our mechanic we were able to find a reconditioned motor, total cost 12,500 pesos, including labor. We would like to express our thanks to our volunteers, Jim and Linda Sorter, Chuck Dewitt and Alicia Pereira, whose donations offset a major portion of the motor’s expense. We would also like to express our thanks to the Polo Club for loaning us one of their vehicles “the mule” while the buggy is being repaired. (see photo below)
The town celebration is a mere shell of what it was in the 90’s. Perhaps one of the problems leading to its collapse is a new ruling by local authorities which would not allow any booths/games/rides inside the park. As a result vendors were forced out onto the street, causing fewer rides and games, and less than a dozen places to eat. There were hardly any fireworks, special events or entertainment, but maybe the last days may pickup in tempo. Instead of 3,000 people enjoying the festivity, there were less than 250. For me it was enjoyable, except for the damn rockets and music that was for the most part, as it has been for decades, deafening and unbelievably out of tune. (see photos below)
Weather-wise, several powerful, but exceptionally beautiful lightning storms knocked out the electric power for hours if not for the entire night. Days were hot and humid, with temperatures ranging from 90° to 107°f, while nights have been cool, down to 72°f. The rainfall for the season at the end of September came to 34.5 inches, with 7.5 inches in September. The beaches are still somewhat littered with floating and plastic debris. Except for a few days of moderate waves from hurricane Ileana, the seas were calm. The lagoon is open to the sea and the opening is working its way in the direction of La Perla with a sixteen foot steep bank.
Town-wise, the three month reconstruction of curbs, sidewalks and cobblestone streets around the lower end of town and along Avenue Tercer Mundo from the malecon up to Calle Asia is finished with the exception of the underground electrical, which may take a month or so. No gas station, regular gasoline is about $3.24 a gallon, the pesos is floating between 12.1 to 12.9 pesos per dollar
Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
September volunteers, top down: Tom Hofmann,
Jim Sorter, Chuck Dewitt, Lorren Garlichs
Summer and Joslin and Bertrand, Juan Flores
Kym Gardnir, Sabrina Frank and Gale Greer.