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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Summer Arrives in Pez Maya!


Our wetsuits remained hung up on the benches this week in Pez Maya, as the soaring temperatures and warmer water prompted an array of colorful rash vests and shorts to be whipped out of bags and used for diving. The marine inhabitants of the lagoon were out in force too, enjoying the rays: a Spotted-Eagle-Ray and 6 turtles were spotted sunning themselves on just one weekend snorkel trip. The calmer weather has also enabled some of us to reach monitoring stage, and at the end of the week 4 volunteers were heading out to survey sites to monitor fish and juveniles! Jemima meanwhile celebrated her 100th in the traditional fashion – instead of rash vests and shorts she and her buddy Malin went one step further, stripping off underwater and opting to wear even less…


This new burst of summer weather was officially confirmed when one morning those out bird-watching came across a newly-dug turtle nest. A trail coming out of the sea to about 30 meters inland led to a turtle-shaped dugout, indicating that a turtle had come ashore the previous night and laid some eggs. The turtle then crawled out and headed back to the ocean, leaving a second trail away from the nest along the beach. Turtles are easily spooked when laying their eggs, and so any disturbance would scare them away. Therefore to see evidence of turtle nests on our very own stretch of beach is really encouraging for these endangered species, as well as exciting for us! Hopefully the coming weeks will see more of these nocturnal visits and in a couple of months we might be lucky enough to witness the young turtles hatching and making a dash to the sea.


On the same stretch of beach the bird-watchers were rather alarmed for their own safety, after noticing flocks of Least Terns wheeling and diving rather close to their heads. Martin and Esther have concluded that the terns must have recently relocated from their usual breeding grounds on the far side of the mangrove mouth, to the near side. Terns lay their eggs on the surface of the sand, and become territorial if anyone walks too close. Diving down towards any offending trespasser, in this case Craig, means that these flocks have started to lay their eggs and nest. The baby chicks should hatch in the next 25 days, if the nests remained undisturbed. Some of the eggs are easily visible to anyone strolling along the beach, and even difficult to spot in some cases. So, to protect the birds and the turtles, the stretch of beach has been cordoned off with posts and signs, and will be eagerly monitored for breeding activity in the coming weeks.

Two of our own volunteers also decided to make new homes for themselves. Leaving their rather over-heated huts, Kenny and Manolo marked their new property by settling down with two tents close to the hammock area, waking up every morning to the sound of the waves and a perfect view of the sunrise. Kenny has also converted several people to his 6 am yoga sessions, greeting the sunrise and ending the sessions with a headstand…with varying degrees of success for everyone else!


Sadly after this week the yoga enthusiasts will have to make do without their guru, as this weekend we say goodbye to 6 volunteers, all of whom will be greatly missed.

Hollie is returning home to the UK, while Craig and Julia are travelling onto Brazil and Los Angeles. Kenny is going home to Minnesota, while Manolo and Stefan are continuing their travels in Central America, after heading off this weekend with a group of us to Belize, to dive the Blue Hole. Their monitoring and hard work has been invaluable to the research and conservation here in Pez Maya, and we wish them all the best!
Jemima and Manolo

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2 comments:

suf said...

Good articles. How can I contact you?

GVI Mexico said...

Many thanks! to contact us please go to www.gvi.co.uk or email to info@gviworld.com