We’ve got some eventful months behind us!
- We released the last hatchlings into the sea and got a pretty good success rate
- We’ve had our first visitors testing the camping area and leaving mesmerized
- We started the construction of our volunteer cabin
- We discovered some new destinations for future adventure trips
- I received my permanent residency for Nicaragua
So here are all the details:
MEMANTAs first hatchery season is over
I think we can be very proud of our 84% hatching success, given that anything above 70% is considered good for a hatchery and anything above 90% is rarely seen (but of course not impossible).
Even under natural conditions, IF the nests remain totally undisturbed by humans or predators, the success rates can result quite low – this can be due to varying factors like
the health of the mother turtle, unfavourable temperatures, weather extremes, inundation and erosion etc.
Given the fact that all nests on our beach get poached, it is totally necessary to transfer them into an enclosed hatchery. And even when it seems that we failed sometimes – our first nest had only a 50% success rate and another one had a very high hatchling mortality – we can be happy about every single turtle that made its way to the sea.
I don’t think I exaggerate if I say:
Playa Venecia has seen its first baby turtles in decades!
We realized this during our night-time releases, when local egg collectors would stop by and ask what we’re doing. We had to explain to them that we’re releasing baby turtles. They then had a closer look at the tiny creatures and left quite impressed. So yes, there are people living on this beach that had never seen a hatchling before!!!
This past season, we rescued 22 nests with a total of 2144 eggs. Out of these, 84% hatched and 1805 baby turtles got released.
This upcoming season, we definitely need to upscale our protection measures. That means: More nests, more eggs, more hatchlings. We need to build a bigger, permanent hatchery close to the beach and can hopefully count on the help of our first volunteers. Volunteers will not only help us with the workload, but also with the financial burden of running the hatchery. Because we pay for our nests!
This is necessary because
1) there are so many egg collectors out on the beach – some of which move fast as they ride horses or motorbikes – that it’s nearly impossible for us to find enough nests ourselves. So we buy them from the collectors
2) egg collection is an important source of income for the community (it’s not illegal in Nicaragua!!!) and we can’t make peoples lives even harder
3) we count on the acceptance of the local community – we can’t work against them, but need to work with them
The success of our project will highly depend on our guests. The more are coming, the more nests we’re saving! We would like to save close to 200 nests in the near future, so hopefully everything goes as planned.
For now, it’s gonna be a long wait until the first mama turtles will come back to lay their nests in July. I miss my babies already!!!
We’ve been quite busy with visitors
Our program officially starts on June 1, but we were already blessed to receive some visitors who stayed here for a few nights. We were happy to see them being fascinated by the natural ecosystem, the amount of birds and critters, our ecologically-built structures, the DIY watering systems, the stunning beach and the amount of dedication it took us to set up the project.
We were also happy to see how the place got filled with life and laughter – we definitely can’t wait for our first volunteers to make MEMANTA a sociable eco-playground, as it does get very lonely sometimes when it’s just the two of us.
We’re developing our activity program
There’s Volunteering and there’s Voluntourism – the latter means that you don’t safricice yourself working 8 hours a day without pay, but that you enjoy an alternative sort of vacation where you can work on projects that fulfill you.
We definitely want to provide a special Voluntourism Experience @ MEMANTA – yes, there is tons of work to do, but we also want our future guests to feel like they’re on an adventure trip.
We’ll have a weekly chore & activity schedule – chores need to be done, while activities are optional. Some activities that take place on-site or in the close surroundings are included in the fee, while others – like day trips, boat rides or horseback tours – are offered at an additional cost. We try to gather local providers for these activities so that people from the village will have an alternative income source.
So what can you do when you’re @ MEMANTA? There’s
- Surfing and Bodyboarding (Surfers need to bring their own boards, for now)
- Horseback Riding / Horsecart Riding
- Trips to Volcanoes, hidden beaches, fishing villages…
- Walks through the village / Visiting local farms
- Walks / Boat rides through the Mangroves
- Boat rides through the huge Estuary or to neighbouring beaches
- Artisanal Fishing
We’ll offer as well:
- Lots of DIY and crafty projects
- Workshops on Biology, Geology, Ecology etc.
- Beach soccer, Stretching and other light Sports
- Game nights / Fun nights
- Cooking classes
- Language classes in Spanish and German
We’ve been busy with more building projects
The work never ceases here! There’s a lot of maintenance involved in our remote lifestyle, but there’s also always something new we can work on. The latest biggest project has been the Volunteer Cabin: It’s a 5x5m cabin with a sunny porch made of precious wood which will accommodate 3-4 people. It can be used by a family, a group of friends or is otherwise shared by individual travellers. We’ll put some comfy beds and small wardrobes in place. The cabin sits close to our campsite and does neither count with electricity nor with its own bathroom. It’s just as ecological and energy-saving as it can get! Still, it is a more luxurious option for people who don’t want to sleep in tents but like to have real beds instead.
Melvin and I will keep working on the cabin throughout the following weeks – it still lacks windows and walls, which will be made of traditionally-used sugarcane poles.
We’re waiting for our first guests
Once the Volunteer Cabin is finished, there’s only one more thing that’s missing: The People!
We started with our publicity like a month ago and received very positive reactions from all over the world and a few inquiries as well which proved our point: Our concept might work!
We offer two different programs: One for Project Assistants and one for Volunteers. They differ in the type of accommodation, the price and the amount of responsibility you’re expected to take. You can see all the details on the respective info pages –> Click here.
See you soon!