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Becoming a Sea Turtle Conservationist

Welcome to my blog and website

 

You’re interested in who I am?

– Check out That’s me!

You want to know what happened recently on my way of becoming a sea turtle conservationist?

– Check out my blog posts right here underneath!

You’d like to know what I have to say about sea turtles, conservation and volunteerism?

– Check out the pages Hatchery Talk and Volunteer ecotourism.

You’re interested in what’s going on with tourism development on sea turtle nesting beaches?

– Then let’s go deep into the question if sea turtle conservation can coexist with tourism.

 

Featured post

I make the move… to Nicaragua!

It’s finally time to release the exciting news! For those who don’t know yet…

“THE POOR NEIGHBOR OF COSTA RICA” 
– that’s what Nicaragua has always been for me. Back in 2008, when I first volunteered with sea turtles in the wealthy tourism hotspot of Central America, I called my fellow volunteers who were visiting Nicaragua after their placement “the brave ones”, – no “the mad ones” – cause why would you go to poor and dangerous Nicaragua?

A few years later I heard a travel report of someone who had volunteered in the country, and he told me about big lakes, easy-to-climb active volcanoes and an exotic Carribean coast. I was stunned! Continue reading “I make the move… to Nicaragua!”

Results of 8 months turtle-madness

Now that I am back home, it is time for one last blog post about my coordinator job in Costa Rica.
And no, I don’t want to give you a list of all the good and the bad sides of Caletas. Neither will I specify the things I’ve learned, nor what made it so special to me and how much I developed personally. And no, I don’t want to retell my favourite moments and express some final poetic thoughts.
I rather give you some hard turtle facts, and a collection of my best pictures:

Continue reading “Results of 8 months turtle-madness”

Things are different in January and February

Here is the Caletas Update from January and February!

THE BAULA STORY ENDS – LESSONS LEARNT

Yes, I was writing a lot about Mrs. Baula. She was also the most special, mysterious, fascinating and frustrating turtle mom I ever met. She reminded me that sea turtles can be unpredictable and surprising and are not fully understood yet – their mysteries not fully revealed yet. Plus: each sea turtle has a distinct character – oh yes, you read right! Some are little divas, a few are very shy, others are straight forward and bad-ass. Some of them nest in the most light-polluted areas with twenty people standing around and touching them while others run back into the sea as soon as they hear an unfamiliar sound.
But Mrs. Baula also reminded me once again how awesome and important hatcheries are – and will be in the future, with climate change, beach degradation and all that other stuff. Continue reading “Things are different in January and February”

Final moments of 2015

Here I am again, with the December news from Caletas!

The month started with a nice relaxing 6-day “holiday” in Nicaragua to get a new tourist visa for my last 90 days here. Me and Melvin followed the same schedule than last time: three nights in his home village Ostional, one night in touristy San Juan del Sur to get some shopping done and one night in busy Managua to get some more shopping done.
I enjoyed life with fans in the room, comfortable mattresses, rural scenery, all kinds of animal encounters, cold drinks, ice cream every day, motorbike cruising, and I also got to see an Olive Ridley Arribada Continue reading “Final moments of 2015”

November life – many struggles and a few rewards

Okay, enough with “Sun, Sand and Surf”-Happiness, enough with “look at these adorable cute babyturtles I am playing with” and “I am so fortunate to live a life like this” – lately, Caletas has been full of challenges and throwbacks.
I tell you the real story now – stories about

  • a turtle facing extinction which likes to play games with us
  • communal living and working in an isolated place which turns out to be just as rough as the wilderness that is surrounding us
  • skunks, rain, broken headlamps and tired muscles

Continue reading “November life – many struggles and a few rewards”

Busy October

A full hatchery (once again), busy patrols and rainy days, as well as the presence of two more sea turtle species at Playa Caletas indicate that now in October, we have been in the very high season of turtle activity.

GREEN TURTLE MADNESS

By now we have three Green turtle nests in our hatchery. After her first rather surprising visit we wanted to be totally prepared for her return. However, she came two nights earlier than expected which ended in a bit of chaos. Once again, I was the lucky one on patrol to find her, when she was only bodypitting. We didn’t bring any phones but were well aware that each of the assistants wanted to see her (and requested to be informed, unlike last time), as most of them had never seen a Green turtle before. Continue reading “Busy October”

September happenings

Hello to everyone! Here is the Caletas Update from last month.

TIME OFF IN NICARAGUA

After two and a half month staying in Caletas and having one night off per week (most of which I would still spend at camp, but at least I can sleep for the whole night, if the others let me 😉 ), I got sent on a week-long “holiday” in Nicaragua. Well, the reason for this was that I needed a new tourist visa for the next three months, so I had to stay out of the country for at least three days. I was allowed to leave together with Melvin, who is from Nicaragua. Even though I loved the idea, it made be a bit worried because it meant that we would leave four of the girls alone at camp for a couple of nights, with one patrol a night, hatchery shifts, a lot of day chores, and possibly a lot of releases and exhumations.

Continue reading “September happenings”

Turtle work at its finest

Caletas has been booming in those past couple of weeks. The hatchery has exploded in terms of hatching activity, the nesting activity has stayed continuously high, two new assistants arrived, and all in all you can feel that the turtle high season has begun. We are busier than ever before. Now I tell you the details:

BIG TURTLES AND FAST POACHERS

So turtle activity has been high – or let’s say reliable with about – let me guess – between ten and twenty nesting events a night. It is nearly guaranteed those days to see a turtle and to stumble over a couple of tracks during your patrol. However – our hatchery has been nearly full with close to 195 nests (!!!!!) incubating at the same time, so we had to limit the number of relocated nests to three or four a night. Continue reading “Turtle work at its finest”

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