Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Latest From the Project Leader

A busy few weeks for me. I was glad to have the workforce needed to enable us to begin night work at an early stage and hence already we have a good list of individual turtles that have visited Alagadi to lay their first clutch. 36 nests now. Not to mention a male turtle carrying a satellite transmitter who after a week at sea has now reached Turkey and begun to traverse the coast towards Mersin, probably patrolling for females and trying to sew his seeds a far as possible. First of it’s kind in the Med actually! It is now getting to that stage where the first nesters having laid a fortnight ago, will be returning to lay their second clutch of the season, whilst new females continue to arrive to lay their first. Last night we saw 5 nests, 4 green turtles and 1 loggerhead. At around 2am a storm whipped up and we were blasted by sand and a number of nests were washed over by high seas. At half five we waved off the last of the females in broad daylight as she was engulfed in waves. Quite surreal and deserving of a celebratory drink before bed. There is now no question that the season is going to be extremely productive for both species. I remember the dreaded season of 2005 when we only had 40 nests on Alagadi, night after night of no activity and boredom. I expect at least 100 this year.

Now that the volunteers are trained up and with experienced remigrant volunteers arriving from last season, who’s return was funded by the Erwin Warth Foundation, the volunteers are coordinating themselves on the beach well and I am able to snatch an hour or two to myself in the goat shed, on call and listening out on the VHF radio. I am really pleased with the team, all of them get on very well and work together, full of initiative and enthusiasm. With no new arrivals for a few weeks now I expect that we will become a very tight group.

We have been tackling the litter problem on Alagadi beaches. Firstly on Sunday afternoons we are patrolling the beaches handing out black bags to local family groups to take their litter to the car parks. Secondly, during the week we are emptying the bins in all of the car parks and loading all of the rubbish to the beach bar where Gokmen, the beach bar manager, then ferries it up to the Beledeya in Esentepe. We hope that the Beledeya will take responsibility for at least emptying the bins in the near future. We have also organised beach cleans and special thanks go out to Marylin and friends, who came down from Catalkoy on Monday to help out on Alagadi 2.

On Sunday the West Coast team returned and stayed over and volunteer James Johnston and his two friends Woody and Ollie at James’s parents house in Esentepe hosted a reunion pool party. Sorry James if your parents were not supposed to find out, but apparently the house was cleaner when we left than when we arrived. James has been house sitting for a few weeks whilst diving by day and turtling by night at Alagadi, not leaving much time for house work. Woody and Ollie disclosed that James had been tidying all morning in anticipation of our arrival! A big thanks to James for putting on a great spread, we all had a well-deserved afternoon off and a fantastic time.

I took an hour off this afternoon and launched my kayak on Alagadi. In the middle of bay 3 I noticed a turtle cross underneath me. It crossed my path a few times moving quite quickly beneath me, almost inquisitively, and I was able to identify it as a male green turtle. It emerged to breath beside me and that was the last I saw of him. Brilliant!

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