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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Readers ~

What a season!  we’ve located six Leatherback nests over the last three months, the last nest was found on Playa Monterey on February 10th.   The first nest hatched on February 4th at 100% or 58 hatchlings, the second on February 16th at 80% or at 47 hatchlings, both nests took about 70 days to incubate, (see image below.)  The hatchlings from both nests made it to the sea in the dark of night, leaving behind a beautiful array of tracks.  One hatchling in each nest was left beyond, slightly tweaked in the hatching process, but with a little care they both made it to the sea  twelve hours later.  The next or third nest should hatch around February 28th. 

Despite our wishes for a speedy end to this season, there are still ten nests in the beach nursery, the last three are scheduled to hatch around the first week of May.  Estimated hatchlings released this season came to about 105,000, total nests recorded or found came to 1,421, a ten-fold increase over what we had found in 1993.

It was November 1991 that I first met John Cooper and his family at the old Costa Azul bar.  John’s father had just purchased the hotel and soon afterwards John remodeled the bar, dinning room, pool,  and grounds.  Throughout the 90’s the young Eco-Adventure Hotel was the most popular spot in San Pancho.  Although by ‘99 the hotel saw competition that they had not dreamed possible, dozens of newly constructed homes within the area were up for rent, while a host of new restaurants began to cut into their profits, most of which were recycled into advertizing that seemed to be bring in fewer new guests by the year, while the older guests became disenchanted and faded away.   By 2008 the hotel began to drift into serious disrepair, the roof over the dining room and bar leaked like a sieve, walls begged for plaster and paint, the deck and furnishing looked old and worn.  Today the sign outside says “closed for remodeling” but who’s doing the remodeling?.

The Group’s relationship with the hotel was not as smooth as it should have been, the first snag came early on when we asked the hotel to keep their lights off the beach during nesting season.  My major dispute cropped up when I proposed the idea of giving a weekly marine turtle presentation to their guests, but was turned down repeatedly because I did not have a degree in marine biology, as if their guests really cared.  It became personal when in the summer of ‘94 the hotel quickly granted permission to a group of our volunteers, (marine biology students), despite the fact that they had zip field experience in the collection and incubation nests, or releasing of hatchlings, etc.  Several years later the hotel gave in to the demands of their guests and allowed us to give the presentation and release hatchlings.

Although on three different occasions over a period of 14 years we urged the hotel to action on several serious environmental problem (sewage) but instead of correcting the problem, and despite the popularity of our program, and numerous letters complimenting our work and presentation, they chose instead to throw us out on our ear, not once but three different times, the last time was in 06’.   A month later we moved the presentation to Gallo’s restaurant.   The hotel had shot themselves in the foot not once but three times, the presentation and hatchling release was the highlight and reason that many guests returned. 
Weather wise, daytime temps are beginning to get a little toasty, but comfortable, with daytime temperatures were in the mid to high 80°s, nighttime temperatures are a lot warmer than it had been over the past several years, high 60°s to low 70°s.  Mostly clear day with beautiful cumulus clouds over the far Mascota Mountains.

January Volunteers: Joslin, Summer and Starlie Bertrand, Gale Greer and Lorren Garlichs, all from the US, Lisa Fisher, Patricia and Peter Riley from Canada. 

Town wise, tourists have returned as if the recession had never happened, although the snowbird homeowner population is down quite a bit.  The beaches looks good, a little steep at the north end, while the lagoon is filled, with no sign of surface Water Lettuce or Hyacinth.  The pesos is 12.32 to 12.55 per dollar, regular gasoline is $3.41 per gallon. 

Since the Homeowners Directory was first printed in 2002 over 269 homes had been listed within the sponsor pages at one time or the other:  

This year there are 148 sponsors listed within the directory, and of that number:
  97 or 66% have given us a donation this year.
  43 or 29% can not be found, snowbirds missing in action.
    8 or   5% will donate later
Of the remaining 121 homes taken out of the directory:
   71 or 59% have moved out of San Pancho.
   27 or 22% in a period of three years had not given a single donation
   18 or 15% after placed in the directory they were never seen again.
     5 or   4% wanted to be removed from the sponsor pages.

In any case if you are one of the 43 that have not contributed to our marine turtle program and received a directory, please drop by the house and help.

Volunteers enlistment – of the thirty-nine applicants and former volunteers that have shown an interest in joining this coming summer , eleven have made a firm commitment which is about normal for three months out.  We are planning to enlist at least twenty-five volunteers, of which fifteen will be former and ten will be new.

Looking Back:
From our March, 2003 newsletter:

Two weeks ago we attended a meeting called by the State of Nayarit.  The meeting was designed to discuss environmental protection and land use planning, within and along the three southern coastal counties’ of the State of Nayarit.  It was strange to see so many land developers in sheepskins pretending to be conservationists.  Although I am sure that the officials hosting the meeting were interested in a balanced plan.

Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
Tel. 311-258-4100



The Leatherbach last in the nest.


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