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My Trip to Colola, Michoacan, Mexico:
"The paperwork wasn’t lying when they said you’d be sleeping in a palm hut! The beds are made of wooden boards, so it is behoove of you to bring a sleeping pad! The place itself is pretty secluded. Town is maybe 10-20 minutes walking distance from the camp. There are a few small stores with the bare necessities and a computer lab. Outlets in Mexico are the same as in the United States; the camp didn’t have any but the town did have a few. Don’t be surprised if you have horses, donkeys, or cows walking through the camp.
The locals work by the week; so each week you work with a different group of people. They always have at least one person there ‘on watch’. Generally, depending on who their team leader was, we would start work between 2000 and 2100. Work would last 4-7 hours. One to two volunteers are usually assigned to a local. There are four zones on the beach; two of them are collecting and two are marking. Depending on who you work with and certain zones, you can mark the turtles with a metal tattoo / tag that contains a tracking number. The collecting zones involve waiting for the females to lay their eggs, helping move her out of the hole, measuring the length of the female’s shell, noting if she has a tag, the time, zone, and digging up the eggs (anywhere from 1 to over 130) for transport. Once collected, the eggs are transported back to camp where they are buried and marked. There is also a group assigned to release. Once the babies come to the surface, you collect and count them before taking them down to the ocean for release.
Our group got up between 0900 and 1000 for a late breakfast. Some people went to the town for food, supplies, or internet. Others stayed at camp to read, clean up, nap, or enjoy the beach. Swimming is not authorized at the turtle camp; however, you could go just beyond the town and go swimming there. On the weekends we would usually go to a beach either farther east or west of camp for different scenery. There are some walls in the town that could use a nice mural or something on them… we didn’t have time. A few of us did post signs along the road marking how close the camp was (500 m, 1000m, and 1500m). Don’t be afraid to hitchhike, by far the cheapest and quickest way to get around.
The trip was an amazing time. I met some awesome people from all over- Finland, Wales, South Korea, France, Mexico, and the United States. I’d recommend this kind of volunteer project to anyone that loves the outdoors, beaches, and turtles! "
Cadip volunteer 2010