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Puerto Vallarta • Riviera Nayarit 

San Pancho and Turtle News from La Costa Verde Ecological Group

Frank D. Smith - Ecological Group of Costa Verde
December 2, 2013

Hola Volunteers, Supporters and Readers

After thirty inches of rain the beach nursery was as expected, a near disappointment. We released a total of 13,853 hatchlings from 232 nests, which produced a low hatch rate of 64.3%.

By the end of November and under controlled conditions within the box nursery, we released a total of 57,777 hatchlings from 698 nests, producing an outstanding successful hatch rate of 88.1%. The remaining 145 nests within the box nursery are scheduled to hatch throughout December and into early January, while the last 18 nests, within the beach nursery should hatch by mid-January.

By the end of November we had recorded 1,150 nests, and by the end of the season we will have released around 86,000 hatchlings. The poachers got away with 50 nests and another 22 were left in place on the beach. One Leatherback nest was found on Playa Questo.

Weather wise, on November 5th, the sub-tropical jet stream began its annual northeastward migration, occasionally lifting clouds off the equator and across our landscape. This flow will most likely continue until late May, and could bring us a mixed bag of weather events. Daytime temperatures range from the mid to high 80°s. while night time temps range from the mid to low 70°s.

On the afternoon of November 13th, the temperatures shot up to 96.8°, the highest temperature this year.

Good news for snowbirds, It looks as if we’ll be enjoying a much warmer winter for once. Total rainfall for October was .7 inches, and for the year it was 40 inches.

Volunteer-wise, due to a death in the family, Gale and Lorren were not able to join us this year as planned. Mark and Jessica had also planned to return, but sadly ran short of funds and could not join us. November volunteers: Joslin and Summer Bertrand, Aimee, Brian and kids, Jack and Summer Williams, Catherine Gockley, and Robert Hepburn, all from the US - Zsofia Cserhati, Hungary -  Claudia Gambacciani, Switzerland - Norma Patricia Rodriquez and Manuel Murrieta all from San Pancho.

On the 27th, without notice, the dune buggy developed a large oil leak, and within a matter of minutes the motor was badly damaged to the point that it has to be rebuilt. It is amazing how much good service we got out of the buggy before it went belly-up. Although keeping it running this season meant replacing numerous switches, a new wire floor mesh, major frame welding, repair of its starter, a new clutch, numerous other small parts and painting supplies, and it will still need new shocks and a steering gear box.

Town and country wise – the course of events leading up to the speedy completion of the polo facility/fields, the traffic islands/etc in front of town, the opening of the gas station, and the new sewer plant have all been mañanatized for the time being. The local river continues to chew its way through the lagoon on a southward path in the direction of the boats. The beach has widened as if the sea level had dropped, and unlike previous years, driftwood on the beach had not been piled up and burnt, which is good news for those who are planning a nice beach campfire this winter. The peso is about 12.8 per dollar, regular gasoline is about $3.64 per gallon.

It’s that time of year, the 2014 San Pancho Homeowners Director is published. It is through the sale of this directory and your financial support that we are able to protect the marine turtle. The best way to receive the directory is to e-mail (with date and time to deliver) or call me at 258-4100 and I will deliver a copy to your doorstep, or drop by my house, Casa Tortuga, or in any case I’ll be at your doorstep soon.

From our newsletter ten years ago:

On November 19th, volunteers Paul and Bronny were crossing Playa Questo in search of late season nests. As they were enjoying their walks along the palm-laden beaches that morning, they found the unexpected, and a deeply troubling sight that no one would expect.  Circling above them were birds of prey, and before them were the remains of a freshly killed Olive Ridley turtle. By her tracks, it appears that she was about to nest when she was butchered in place, and as expected the poacher removed the flippers, eggs and meat.  Playa Questo has always been a serious problem, a difficult area to patrol, and thus is often left open to poachers that come from as far as Puerto Vallarta and from as near as Sayulita. This is the only known turtle to have been butchered on our beaches in years.

Frank D. Smith, Director, Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C. Frank can be contacted on Skype at turtlebee or by telephone at  (311) 258-4100.

  Learn more about Ecological Group of Costa Verde

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