Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Readers ~
Knock on wood, the season began with no foreseeable problems, everything had been repaired and supplies purchased, so it should be smooth sailing throughout the coming months. Number of nests recorded by the end of July came to 108, (down 16 nests from last July.) Some 96 were placed in the box nursery, 5 were left in place on the beach and 7 nests were taken by poachers.
July’s volunteers were, Joslin, Starlie and Summer Bertrand, Kristen Barbour, Patricia Dombrowski, Megan Ewald, Lisa, Carly and Annie Hoffner, USA and Amalia Sedlmayer, Germany, Manuel Murrieta, México, and Lisa Fisher, Canada. (see photos below.)
Artificial lights from houses and restaurants play a large role in the disruption of nesting sea turtles as it confuses the adults turtles, but they are also extremely dangerous to emerging hatchlings.
Hatchlings look for the subtle light reflecting off the surf and waves to direct them towards the sea. Artificial lighting can point them in the wrong direction, and wandering about on the beach can lead to almost certain death. Even hatchlings that eventually find their way to the water can be too exhausted to swim - becoming easy pickings for fish.
This February, new regulations call for moving, changing, or eliminating any light sources that illuminate a nesting beach. Authorities are already informing beachside homeowners, hotels and restaurants of the new rules and will soon be checking for compliance.
So why are we overly concerned about heavy rains and flooding waves out on our beach nursery? The success of a marine turtle nest depends on remaining relatively dry throughout the first twelve day of incubation. When eggs drop from the nesting turtle they are soaked in a antibiotic water solution, glossy, cream-white in color. At the point when the eggs hit the sand its shell must quickly turn a dry, chalk-white color. This transformation will allow the eggs to shed water, sand and bacteria, and most importantly, it will allow it to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. Although white eggs may die if they receive heavy rain or flooding waves anytime within the first twelve days of incubation.
How do eggs breathe under eighteen inches of damp sand; the tide is the answer. As the tide goes out, a large amount of water under the beach will go out with it, this allows air to be drawn down through the sand and around the nest. As the tide comes in, it pushes carbon dioxide up out of the nest to the surface, much like an air bellow.
Weather-wise, days are hot and humid, temperatures were in the mid 80°s and the very low 90°s in the last week of the month. Nighttime temps were nice, dipping into the 70s°. Rainfall for July came to 8.7 inches, for the year 10.8 inches. Within hours of the first rain the choking dust turned to mud and within a week the jungle turned a beautiful green, a visual gift we all look forward to. Influence from hurricanes Dalia and Erick delivered over 25% of our July rainfall. No outstanding weather events occurred except two offshore hurricanes.
Not good, the lack of rain over the past two weeks is a result of a near stationary, 1,400 mile wide, low pressure system located over Central New México. Gradient winds from a low pressure moves in a clockwise direction, in our case it is carrying moisture laden clouds out into the Pacific Ocean before they have a chance to drop rain or even form into thunderstorms. (see image below) Go to NOAA for more details, click HDW-high.
Town and country wise. After a delay of months, underground electrical service was finally installed to the meters and power poles are coming down along Calle Cuba, Argelia, México, India and the lower third of Avenida Tercer Mundo. Our gas station has become a movie-set for some strange flick called “Better never than later”. Shortly after midnight on the 13th and after two days of heavy rain, the lagoon opened into the sea releasing a flotilla of bright green water Hyacinths, caution, it is also releasing water that you don’t want to swim in due to bacteria, although the breach closed in a week. After several attempts the river was never able to maintain a steady flow under the bridge, but a good flow of water is making it as far as the area of the town well. By the end of July the pesos was 11.4 and regular gasoline around $3.62 a gallon.
Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
July’s volunteers, first group left: Starlie, Summer Low pressure system preventing rain. with kitten, Amalia, Kristen and Megan with white in back
Second group right:, Carly with kitten, Lisa and Annie,
Joslin, Manuel and Patricia in the back.