VOLUNTEER DAYS

A SHORT SUMMARY OF THE LONG HOURS!

We are all heading home, a bit downhearted but with a great sense of fulfilment and satisfaction because of the wonderful effort we have made and because of how well everything has turned out, thanks to all the work the volunteers did and to everyone else who encouraged and supported us.

A few days ago you will have received our Recognition for the extraordinary work you did; we have often passed on to you the praise for your work expressed, verbally, by Seville. The Mayor of Marbella has also thanked you for your work.

This latest thank you is in the form of a photographic tribute. (We want to emphasise that everyone who appears in the photos has given their express consent to be photographed.)

Chronology:

  • 10th September 12 noon: Beginning of the protection and stakeout at the nest
  • 22nd September at 11:03 pm:

Alert  to 112 that 37 loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) were hatching. The reaction chain is launched starting with the notification to the Junta de Andalucía biologists, to Civil Protection and to the local Police.

  • 23rd September at 10:25 pm:

Alert to 112 that more hatchlings can be seen appearing at the top of the nest. 3 hatchlings came out. The telephone reaction chain is activated again.

  • 24th September at 10:14 pm:

Alert to 112 that 6 more hatchlings are appearing, one after another.

  • 25th September at 6:00 p.m.: The biologists and technicians of the Junta de Andalucía proceed to dig the nest out. 3 further live hatchlings appear and are greeted with immense joy and happiness from everyone there.
  • 25th September at about 8pm: The protection and stake out by the volunteers ends.

 

Facit:

  • 49 loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) hatchlings arrived safely on Cabopino beach (T.M. Marbella).
  • Total hours of volunteering: 368 hours.
  • Volunteer days: 16 days
  • Participation: 200 volunteers
  • Waiting list and substitutions: 50 volunteers
  • 9 nationalities took part in the care and stakeout of the nest

Incidents:

  • One pair of glasses left behind: see attached photo
  • Lantern made available anonymously for night shifts: see photo
  • It rained only 1 night
  • 2 chairs were broken

Epilogue:
During these intense days sometimes we have had to be like “the rock in the storm”, standing firm for the good cause, for our convictions and for the very act of volunteering.

At the same time we have learned to be patient and flexible like “a reed in the wind”.

We all ended up stronger and with a huge feeling of satisfaction. Once again THANK YOU ALL!

REAL EXCLUSIVE

ProDunas, the biologists and veterinarians all worked hard with Diario Sur so that we were able to get these photos from inside the nest.

WE ARE EXHAUSTED

We are now godparents to 37 of Loggerhead Sea Turtles (𝘊𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘢 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘢) hatchlings!

On 22nd September at 11:03 p.m., Juanjo, the volunteer on duty, called 𝟭𝟭𝟮 as established by the Ministry of the Environment, to report that 3 little turtles were emerging from the nest.

Once they received this call, all the emergency services and professional teams of biologists, veterinarians and swung into action. We at once, of course, sent out the note on WhatsApp giving the good news to all the volunteers. The constant temperatures that we have been able to target since August 6, may be decisive for the hatching of the small sea turtles to begin soon. It will depend on nature, if it wants to give us, sooner or later, this treasure.

Between 45 and 60 days the miracle occurs. You can already do the calculation yourself: from 4/6 August and looking at the moon phase! In Biopark they are already hatching from the incubator!

All the scientific and technical team, ProDunas and the volunteers are on high alert.

From today, any time the call 𝗮t 𝟭𝟭𝟮 will be activated.

THE COUNT DOWN STARTS

Things have really taken off! – Sunday, 20th September: We photographed some strange marks on the top of the nest and sent this evidence to the Ministry of the Environment in Seville and Malaga. Today Monday, 21st September a small hole can already be seen on the top part of the nest.

The constant temperatures we have been able to maintain since 6th August may have been crucial in having the hatching out of the small sea turtles start so soon. Now it is all up to Mother Nature whether she wants to share this treasure with us sooner rather than later.

The miracle occurs between 45 and 60 days after the mother turtle lays the eggs. You can do the math yourself: from 4th to 6th August taking the phases of the moon into account! In Biopark in Fuengirola the eggs they put in the incubator are already hatching out.

Everyone, all the scientific and technical teams, ProDunas and the volunteers are on high alert.

Starting today, the call to 𝟭𝟭𝟮 could be activated at any moment.

NOW EVERYTHING IS READY!

With the permission of the Ministry of the Environment we got down to work, mobilising 5 workers from the Marbella Delegation of the Environment and Beaches and counting on the stalwart help of 3 volunteers to fill 100 raffia sacks with sand. The City Council has guaranteed that once the sea turtles have hatched, everything not biodegradable will be removed from the beach.

With this sandbag parapet in place, no waves can reach and damage the nest. There is even a tent ready to protect it should it rain.

THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM!

The rough sea beating against the breakwater warned us that the coming night would be a challenge. Thanks to our long experience at sea we are well aware of the capricious nature of the weather so, together with the volunteers, it was “all hands on deck” to do all we could to stop the fast approaching high tide reaching the nest.

This was a valuable lesson for all volunteers waiting their turn: Sometimes the emergency protocol has to be activated because of the rising sea level and other times you have to work hard and break a sweat so that the sea turtle nest does not get damaged by the incoming tide.

This shows the duality of a patient wait for the hatchlings to emerge and the sudden swinging into action – just like in the best movies.

Thank you to all last night’s participating volunteers!

FIRST EMERGENCY CALL FROM THE VOLUNTEERS – 14th September 2020

We have told the volunteers that they can call ProDunas at any time of the night or day. Due to the groundswell and the waves from the NE, we received the first emergency call from the volunteers at 6:30 p.m. on that shift.

We got in touch at once with the coordinator from the Regional Delegation and we ourselves got down to the beach to fill sandbags and put them between the nest and the sea.

At 1:14 in the morning we received a second emergency call – the volunteers on the night shift sent us a photo showing the rising tide and the containment ditch they had dug.

ProDunas was able to reassure them and got them to include the incidents on the incident sheet: High tide = 0: 52h, low tide = 7: 42h. You have to be calm but observant. Our thanks to the group.

The next high tide will be at 2:00 p.m. when the next shift will have to be really observant once again.

YOU ARE THE BEST!

We have already started with the 24-hour shifts which will go on for the next 24 days – the volunteers get to the site on time, they adhere carefully to the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of the Environment. We have already started with the 24-hour shifts which will go on for the next 24 days – the volunteers get to the site on time, they adhere carefully to the guidelines laid down by the Ministry of the Environment.
Our sincere thanks to the first group of volunteers!

FIRST DAY OF SURVEILLANCE OF THE NEST OF SEA TURTLES AT CABOPINO
(Marbella)

The first 24 hours have gone by and the nest is properly set up and ready for the big day when the hatchlings appear. It took a lot of time to get everything ready so that Mother Nature can do her work.

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Asociación ProDunas Marbella

The Association works tirelessly for the defence and preservation of the unique ecosystems that survive in the natural sand dune environments in the Province of Málaga; promotes the protection of native flora and small wildlife; promotes recovery, rehabilitation and conservation of interesting biodiversity of sand dunes areas in the municipality of Marbella.