By the end of November we recorded over 953 nests and had released around 60,724 hatchlings. 778 nests were incubated in the box nursery, 58 nests were left on the beach to hatch naturally, while the poachers slithered off with 26 nests. Remaining to hatch in December are 72 nests in the box nursery and 8 nests in the beach nursery.
The beach nursery that had contained 79 overflow nests was a total disappointment. We had hoped that the employment of 95% shade cloth would improve the hatch rate but the big killer was not heat, but high waves and heavy rain that destroyed 76% of 7,415 eggs, all within their first days of incubation.
The first public release of hatchlings began during the Thanksgiving holiday and was suspended on the second day due to an over enthusiastic crowd of onlookers and out-of-control dogs. Aside from dogs running through the release area, individuals with cameras felt compelled to walk among the hatchlings leaving deep foot prints behind them. Hatchlings were being washed up around the feet of onlookers that refused to move back along the shoreline, while a half a dozen kids walked through the waves directly in front of the release.
In December we will again try to release hatchlings in front of town, but this time we will use iron stakes and rope to hold the people back, and volunteers will be wearing red t-shirts clearly marked “Turtle Release Staff”. This plan has only one flaw; it requires the help of at least two other volunteers and at this time I have few to help.
Volunteer wise: this December the Group will have the smallest number of volunteers in many years. Manuel is in Monterrey, México for the month, Simon is leaving México, Gale and Lorren will return home in mid-December and James Stevenson is returning home on the December 3rd. Remaining in town to help is Julio, San Pancho’s veterinarian, who I can call on when needed, Lisa and Beth. The challenge will be moving 80-pound nest boxes from the top shelf to the tables.
The 2016 San Pancho Homeowners Directory is published and can be obtained at my house, the upper apartment of the duplex to the right in the nursery compound on American Latina.
Weather-wise: Daytime temperatures ranged from the low to high 80°s, while night time temps were in the mid to high 60°s and occasionally in the very low 70°s . Except for hurricane Sandra (cat 4 storm), there were no other outstanding weather events. All of November’s rainfall came from Sandra, about 3.0 inches (from my rain gauge), total rainfall for the year so far is 46.22 inches. There were more powerful tropical storms and/or hurricanes this year than ever before, 32 in total, and the most powerful hurricane ever, Patricia, with winds at 178 mph..
On the evening of the 28th, we rolled the Canadian and US Thanksgiving holidays, the end of turtle nesting season (not really, it never ends), my birthday and the birthday of a volunteer, Linda, into one big celebration. About 16 friends joined us for a turkey dinner. (See the photo below)
Town and country wise: Not much is happening. Tourism is back to the days prior to 9/11 and Ave Tercer Mundo is still jammed with motorists trying to drive in both directions.
For nearly fourteen years, Che, had been my loyal friend, the most interesting and playful cat I have ever had the honor of caring for. It was around August, 2002, that we found this two-week-old kitten crying in the back yard. He was so small and weak that he had to be fed with an eye dropper for weeks until he was able to eat on his own. I was determined that he remain an outdoor cat but he had different ideas and after a year of sleeping on my window sill, he punched a hole in the screen and quickly became a house cat.
In the winter of 2004, I drove up to the States for several months, leaving him in the care of a friend that unfortunately forgot to feed and water him. However, when I returned months later, I found him sitting in the middle of the driveway awaiting my return. As a playful young kitten he got his name from Che Guevara. He would come out of nowhere, attack your feet and then run off and hide, while at night he would sleep by my head, softly purring.
Things went well for him over the years, although in January of this year he tried to tell me that something was wrong by snuggling up close to me. It was then that I discovered that one of his eyes was swollen. The next morning we drove him to a vet in Puerto Vallarta but it was too late. Within a few days he was totally blind, we suspect, from diabetes. Nevertheless, he adapted to his blindness the best he could, somewhat frightened, he just wanted to be held and loved. To make a sad story sadder, we had to put him down on November 25th. The loss of my friend and companion along with the guilt is more than I can bear. (See the photo below)