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Newsletter No. 65 - December, 2005
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Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Friends ~

By the end of November, volunteers and staff had found and recorded 365 nests. Of that number, 305 nests had been placed in the nursery, producing more than 24,200 hatchlings at 87% survival rate with an estimated 1,400 hatchlings due to hatch before the end of the year. Of the 27 nests left in the beach, we received over 1,850 hatchlings at 77% survival rate. The estimated total for the season comes to around 27,450. The poachers had taken their customary 27 nests, or 7.4%. Based on our failure to successfully incubate the final eight nests of last season with 10-watt light bulbs, as of mid November, we had decided to leave all new nests on the beach or, if necessary, moved to better locations for their protection.

If my math is correct, and only one out of every 800 Olive Ridley hatchlings returns as adult nesting females, in eleven to sixteen years, or year 2017, we should receive an additional 840 nests. Of course these figures don't take into consideration new diseases, at sea poaching, global warming, etc

Copies of the "2006 San Francisco Home Directory" are now available. This year's edition features 24 new homeowners out of the 147 homes listed, 36 new telephone numbers out of the 263 listed, 7 new Yellow page listings, plus one additional map page. The directory comes in full (8-1/2" by 11") and half size (5-1/2" by 8"). If you have not received a copy and would like a one before you return north, drop by my house on America Latina, or call me at 258-4100.

As mentioned before, Paul returned for his third season to support our marine turtle program and to conduct education classes with the assistance of Anna and Roxanna. Over 266 children from both primary and secondary classes received a one-hour lesson regarding sea turtle biology and a coloring book supplied by Ocean Conservancy in both Spanish and English. In the afternoon, they gathered on the beach to play educational games. At the end of the session the children were given drinks and cookies, before releasing hatchlings after sunset.

The following week the kinder garden class joined Paul in a light discussion on sea turtles, and filled in their coloring books. Afterwards they walked to my house, where they observed the nursery and hatchlings freeing themselves from their shells. The following weekend, all classes participated in a community cleanup, filling over 32 large trash bags. Both programs were a great success.

It is welcomed, although very unusual to still have four volunteers here in November / December, Unfortunately, their stay was short-lived. Paul, Roxanne, and Anna returned home within the first week of December. Nick is planning to stay on until mid February. There are no words that can express our heartfelt thanks to all our volunteers for their devotion and skill in our quest to protect the marine turtle and bring environmental awareness to the green coast of San Francisco.

Weatherwise, we are experiencing warm days in the low eighties to high seventies, followed by chilly nights down to the low seventies to high sixties. There has been no rainfall since October 10th. To date 2005 is about 35% to 45% below normal, and 15% below 2004's total. Otherwise the palm-laden beaches are clean and warm. The Water Lettuce is back; along the edges of the lagoon and you can see thousands of small seedlings on the surface. Perhaps it will not cover the entire lagoon until April, and then be washed out to sea in June or July.

If clear, bright stars were not enough, during the new moon between 9 and 11 PM, the red tide had produced a stunningly beautiful display of bioluminescence. As the waves would break, they would produce a clear, bright image of themselves in neon pastel blue. Over the last fifteen years of traveling along the shoreline looking for nests, I have never seen such a beautiful display at sea.

Frank D. Smith
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.
México tel. (311) 258-4100
America Latina #102
San Francisco, Nayarit, México

Paul's classes Paul's classes

Several games on the beach illustrate to the children the importance of protection marine turtles.

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