Monday, December 11, 2017

Turtle Time!

Trip date: November 2017

There's a man named Erick in Sayulita who runs a Turtle Camp on the beach. Each day during egg laying season (June to February) he and his team of volunteers scout the beach for turtle nests. They collect the eggs and relocate them to the farm where they are protected until they hatch. Eggs left on the beach are frequently poached by humans, dug up and eaten by birds, or are destroyed by horseback or quad riding on the sand (please keep that in mind when you are choosing your beach activities in areas that have turtles).

Each day there is a sign posted out front letting people know if there were hatchlings that day, then at 6pm the baby turtles are released into the ocean just hours or sometimes minutes after being born! They are adorable! The volunteers mark each nest with date and number of eggs found so they can track the approximate date of hatching. The release is free to anyone who wants to help, you just show up and they give you a plastic bowl with turtles in it! We went twice!

The first time we went we got there a bit late so we missed the part where they tell you not to handle the turtles. It's a precaution against lotions/germs/etc. harming them. So we both held a turtle, but I am now educated and would tell you not to.
They rope off a section of the beach and the turtles are released, making their way into the ocean. By doing it at sunset they avoid a lot of bid activity; the birds love to snack on baby turtles. Only 1% of turtles survive to return to lay eggs each year and if they hatch on their own very few even make it to the water. Erick's Turtle Camp raises the odds for the hatchlings as 100% make it into the sea.
Besides helping to release them you can adopt a nest for about $26USD. We did this on our 2nd visit, they only have room for 5 sponsors a night. This gives money right to the camp and for your donation, you are invited to arrive early to learn about the turtles, explore the camp exhibits, and then take your hatchlings to a more private area of the beach to release them.
Erick has a margarita bar on the beach and he makes a damn fine drink! He also serves shots of racilla. So you can talk turtles, drink agave, and do something good.
This was one of the most special things I have had the chance to do! I hope that if you visit Sayulita you'll visit the camp, help some little turtles make it to the sea, consider adopting a nest, and enjoy the sunset at Erick's bar. Follow them on Instagram here!

All Sayulita photos here.

Other posts from this trip: 
Sunny Sayulita
Sayulita Day Trips
A Taco a Day

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