Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Readers ~
The third of six Leatherback nests hatched on March 8th, producing 33 hatchling out of 43 eggs. To date, the three nests have produced a total of 127 hatchlings. The fate of the fourth nest is in question, as it should have hatched around March 17th. The overall survival rate of the last 59 Olive Ridley beach nests stands at 77.1%. The last two nests should hatch some time in April.
Weather wise, daytime temperatures ranged from the high 70°s to the low/mid 80°s, nighttime temps vary from the low 50°s to the high 60°s, humidity running from the mid 90% in the morning to around 55% in the afternoon. For the most part, some light winds, a mixed bag of clouds with exceptionally clear skies. Nighttime temperatures were unusually cold for March, but still slightly warmer than the last two winters, while daytime temps in the last week of March reached into the high 80°s.
Every four years(or as necessary), the dune buggy undergoes a complete overhaul which includes total rust removal, repairs and painting. As work progressed, we began to realize that the buggy’s frame was badly damaged. Fifteen sections of the railing were so seriously corroded that the buggy could have collapsed at any time (see images below.) It took three welders about four hours to repair the damage and another two weeks to finish painting along with repairs which included the replacement of rear shocks, both tie rods, reinforcing all three trans axle tie downs, braces, new tubes to carry the clutch and gas peddle cables, improving the lighting, switches and the entire wiring system and the replacement of the floor with a heavy, one inch wire screen. The total cost of welding, repainting and parts came to 12,500 pesos.
March volunteers: Joslin, Summer and Starlie Bertrand, Gale Greer, all from the US, Lisa Fisher, Patricia and Peter Riley from Canada. In April: Joslin, Summer and Starlie Bertrand, and Lisa Fisher.
Enlistment of volunteers for June to mid-August is done but mid-August to December is not proceeding as smoothly as hoped. I need to hear from several former volunteers that usually fill this time frame and, if possible, receive more applications.
Town wise, after sitting idle for nearly a year the local gas station is once again under construction. Gauging by the speed of their work, it should be open by June. This Easter the beach was bursting at the seams with tourists. The last holiday before the summer heat wave had turned out to be an immense boost to most local merchants. Regular gasoline is 11.14 pesos per/lt or $3.46 per gallon, the pesos is 12.15 to 12.30 per dollar.
Construction on the new sewer plant may start in June. The first leg of construction will be the pumping station at the old site and a pipeline designed to carry sewage about two miles upstream to the new plant. The location of the plant can be found by turning left on the dirt road alongside the main highway, continue right under the first bridge, and up the drainage about a quarter mile.
If you are looking for a short sightseeing trip, take the dirt road around the top of the golf course to the new polo fields and training area now under construction. Who would have ever believed twenty-two years ago that this little backwater town would have the title of Riviera with a beautiful golf course, a country club, three polo fields and a world class restaurant or two?
Under ideal conditions our four volunteer apartments are rented the year round although, occasionally, one or two apartments will go un-rented usually around April and May. Since the Group cannot afford to pay for these unoccupied units, the landlord takes the loss. To help, we are looking for a renter for all or part of April through mid-June. Please let me know if you can help. We are planning to rent the apartments at cost with all utilities paid (gas, electricity and hi-speed internet) for $525 dollars a month.
To date we have sold 148 copies of the Home Directory, about the same number as we sold last year. Unfortunately our combined income from the sale of directories, t-shirts and donations came up short of last year's figure by 36,500 pesos. In any case, please drop by our house as we have more directories, many t-shirts and would also welcome any donations.
From our March, 2003 newsletter:
It was our original plan to leave all nests on the beaches to hatch naturally, placing some in better nest locations as necessary. Unfortunately, our plans changed shortly after Hurricane Kenna when we discovered that nearly 25% of the beach had been washed inland or out to sea, possibly lost forever. This displacement has caused the beach to drop two to three feet below normal, and narrow by 50 to 100 feet, thus, most incubating nests would be exposed or washed out by storm tides and/or beach erosion.
A comment on “Looking Back”. We had no idea at the time that Hurricane Kenna on March of 2003, was the forerunner of an ever increasing number of storms that have to date destroyed numerous marine turtle nesting beaches around the world. If Global Climate Change is at the heart of this dilemma, the marine turtle population may decrease as adverse weather (i.e. hurricanes) increase.
Our last newsletter came under attack “Disgusted with your attitude”. When a rebuttal to any article is published for public review and the author chooses not to identify him or herself, it is called “Yellow Journalism” If the same rebuttal attacks someone personally, it's called “Malicious Yellow Journalism”. This newsletter was first designed to keep our former volunteers up to date on current activities. Later, we added members of the community and, on request, accepted a large number of other subscribers. If you are unhappy with my ranting (or any other aspect of the newsletter), please unsubscribe. I’ll be more than happy to remove you from our mailing list.
Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
Section of eroded railing cut out Sanded and primed for welding