Last week during the early hours of the morning, three volunteers assisted the turtle regulars in their sweeps of two local beaches in the reserve, looking for nests marked by previous volunteers over two months ago. Our aim was to help with the data collection on the health of the turtle population within the area by monitoring the number of eggs laid in each nest and the whether the eggs had hatched. We were given a quick briefing, and set about finding a marked nest. Once located, we had to dig down into the nest often over an arms reach and record everything we found.
With the sun still low in the sky and staff and volunteers alike lying with both arms up to their shoulders in the sand one volunteer struck turtle gold; a newly hatched nest of green turtles. As soon as the first baby turtles were unearthed, the rest of the nest wanted to be free too! However before they made a mad dash for the sea they were counted and given a bill of clean health in between the bouts of obligatory photos. With an eye on the sky for birds of prey, the turtles were given a head start and released just a few metres from the sea. The closer they got to the water the more frantically their little flippers moved, and we watched them swim off out of sight.
That same volunteer (who is now regarded as a lucky charm on base) unearthed two more newly hatched nests that day, bringing the total number of turtles released to over 230, in addition to data collected from over 30 nests. And just in case that wasn’t enough the Mexican weather celebrated with a couple of rainbows. Once back on base all involved agreed it had been another fantastic experience from Pez Maya.