Studies in psychology have suggested that spending our money on experiences, rather than material possessions leads to greater and longer lasting happiness. In the many years I have lived in Puerto Vallarta, the beautiful Banderas Bay has given me some amazing experiences and happy, long-lasting memories. Several of my most cherished memories come from community service activities I have participated in. People taking an active role in their communities can reap, not only the benefits of the results obtained, but also the benefits of participating in the experience.
One of these treasured memories is available to all visitors and residents of the Banderas Bay from the months of June to November, during the Olive Ridley turtle nesting season. My friends and I spent an entire night walking along a stretch of beach, helping the camp technicians monitor the beach for nests and females coming up to lay their eggs. It is a wonderful means to experience the beach in a different way. Without the sun and gaggle of gulls and people the beach is a different beast at night than it is during the day.
Most of us know about the releasing of the turtle hatchlings which are carried out in various turtle camps and hotels around town. Few of us however, quite realize the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to make these camps work; I think we are missing out.
Volunteers and managers at the camps patrol the beaches during the night, preventing the poaching of nests and turtles alike. They gather the eggs and replant them in a protected nursery which keeps predators and poachers at bay. Upon hatching, the newborns are released into the sea around sunset, a time which decreases the likelihood of predation by birds.
The biologists and technicians could always use an extra hand and I think we can all use a new experience every once in a while. There are many different camps throughout the region. Don’t postpone your visit this year.
Red Tortuguera, A.C. is a non-profit organization which consists of a network of turtle camps and researchers in Jalisco and Nayarit looking to unite their efforts in sea-turtle conservation. You can visit their site at www.redtortuguera.org or on Facebook as: Red Tortuguera A.C. On their site you will find profiles to 10 different turtle camps, each offering a different experience and character. They learn from each other and support each other, increasing the impact of their work and strengthening ties in our community across the Banderas Bay.
Banderas Bay Initiative Column
By Maria Zamora