Campamento Tortuguero Ayotcalli Turtle Rescue Center

 

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This who it is all about

The Senior and I had the opportunity to go to the Turtle rescue to help release some hatch-ling turtles and spend the night at the lovely Casa de Tortuga.  All this because I had the winning bid at a Sailfest auction .

I f you have never been there for a sunset turtle release,  go. Go now, go next year but by all means go. Turtle releases are done from August to March .

The volunteers do nightly turtle patrols the 15 Km of Playa Blanca and Playa Largo to locate the female turtles. Then they

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Turtle nests in incubation area

stay with her to protect her from predators and poachers while she lays her eggs and see that she gets safely back to sea to repeat this cycle again.  Next, they move the entire nest of eggs to their incubator area where the eggs are placed at the same depth they were found. Each nest is labeled as to type of turtle eggs and the approximate date expected to start hatching. During prime turtle season, they patrol the beach from 10 or 11 at night until dawn.  This is very important to locate and protect as many turtle nests as possible. The survival rate is only 1 in 1,000.

The night we were there, March 6th, we and about 20 others arrive at a little sheltered

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Standing at the line

class room area for an interesting educational presentation of the life cycle of the turtles, how the waters of Mexico are home to many varieties, and what the general public can do to help more turtles survive.  After a question and answer session, we adjourn to the beach and lined up behind a line drawn in the sand.  Just as the sun is setting, the volunteers place 2 hatch-lings in our bowl, then we are instructed to slide the turtles out of our bowls onto the sand and watch them head

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My two turtles, both were very fast

towards the ocean.  This an extremely important step, and a beautiful site to watch as they move over the sand memorizing this exact location. If she is female and if she

survives to 10-15 years of age, she will return to the very place we released her.  She will come ashore to lay her eggs and the cycle will continue.  If he is a male his sole mission in life other than survival is

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Run for the ocean at sunset

finding a female at the right time.

On this night about 200 hatch-lings were released, some were very quick as if they knew exactly what their mission was, others were slower and a couple didn’t quite know which direction to go, but eventually they all got to the ocean and we wished them success.

We went back to the classroom/store made our donations, bought souvenirs, happy in the knowledge we had done something to help. As this very worthwhile project is funded

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Our quarters for the night

strictly by donations.  We retired to our lovely quarters to relax and sleep as I need to be up at 5  to go on turtle patrol on the ATV.  As it is very late in the season for turtles to be laying, they are only doing one patrol a night, we did not see any turtles or nests.  Still  a pre dawn ATV beach ride on Playa Larga and Playa Blanca offered an exceptional view of a sky full of  stars, than I have seen in years, crabs skittering across the sand and few birds and a

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KO and the ATV

duck or two, a 30 mile round trip that had me back just after first light of day.  Quite the adventure!  One I plan to repeat next year during prime turtle season. Signing off KO