nighttime action
Turtle season

Hundreds of turtles – Zero volunteers

A really slow start

When we started our publicity for this years’ volunteer program and received the first messages in February, noone thought that one single person eating a wild animal in China would change the world so dramatically… and maybe forever.

We actually had our first volunteer reservations for June and August when the borders around the world started to close and it got impossible to travel. We even received inquiries when there was a first recovery evident in Europe, but Central America to this date remains closed to conventional tourism and the airlines keep cancelling and postponing their flights.

So we gave up all our hopes for this year.

Our establishments are ready for use, but for now we’re trying to maintain them and keep them fresh-looking for a time when people will be able to travel again.

Continue reading “Hundreds of turtles – Zero volunteers”
Preparation & Construction

Ain’t no time to take a break

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!

Continue reading “Ain’t no time to take a break”

Preparation & Construction

Close to the finish line

I know, I know… it’s been way too long since I wrote the last update. But here it is finally, covering everything that has happened between July and October:

 

A BEACH FULL OF TURTLES, AND EVEN FULLER OF PEOPLE

I don’t like to refer to those people as poachers, because poaching sounds like something really bad. And of course, those guys who take the nests from the beach are doing something bad – they are basically killing wildlife. But for most of them it is their only way to survive, the only source of income.
Familys here tend to have up to eight children. Mothers are busy with household chores while the men are trying to feed them all. But how do you manage to do that when there’s no work? We’re in a very remote place where cattle grazing, fishing and growing crops are the only opportunities. But not everyone has enough land, or a boat, to do so – and let’s just remember that these activities also create environmental problems.
So all they can do is take advantage of the natural resources that are readily available.
Of course the local families also eat some eggs themselves, but mostly they sell them to middlemen who then sell the eggs to the markets in the bigger cities. It’s a huge business.

One nest can be worth 20 US-Dollars. That’s a big amount of money in a country where people earn 10 Dollars for a whole day of hard work. So it’s quite tempting to go and look for turtle nests.

Continue reading “Close to the finish line”

Preparation & Construction

Getting in shape

Another four months have passed since we gave an update on our wonderful beachfront property and the start of the development efforts. We’re still kind of far from opening, but we’re slowly getting there….
You might wonder: “What’s taking so long?” until you understand the difficulties that come with our remote location and the advantages that come with a thoughtful approach. How many times have we changed and improved our designs until we found the perfect one? How many times have we discussed the same matter over and over again until we found an adequate solution? How many times did we have to accept failures, and take a new direction? How many times have we been waiting for information being passed on and materials being delivered? How many times did tools break down? How many times did we have to take an hour-long journey in order to buy one last missing piece?

 

Living in Venecia and being in a hurry are just two things that don’t match up. And that’s a good thing, isn’t it? Because sooner or later, people will come here in order to slow down, take a deep breath, reflect and revive. Continue reading “Getting in shape”

Preparation & Construction

Living in a lonesome paradise

Since our move to Venecia in December 2018, there has been a lot of stuff happening. We have been preparing for the construction of the project infrastructure, adapting to our new life in remoteness, planting a lot of trees, discovering some native animals during the dry season and saving our very first turtle nests. But just see for yourself!

 

New challenges

Following the big move to our house, there was still a lot of work to be done. We planted a good amount of fruit trees, set up some small irrigation systems, further deepened our well, built an artisanal biofilter to treat our sewage water, improved the fence all around the property and found a nice spot up on the trees where there’s some good internet connection 😉

Continue reading “Living in a lonesome paradise”