What Will You Remember?
When we first purchased Playa Viva, I remember distinctly walking the land and coming across the volunteers of the Turtle Sanctuary located on a corner of the property. The leaders of the group approach us and asked, “now that you own the land, will you be kicking us off?” Wow! The question shocked me. “Of course not!” I answered, “If our hotel is Disneyland, the baby turtles are Mickey Mouse.” Wow! How naive of me.
Inevitably, they will turn to me and say, “Wow, this is a life-changing experience!”
Sure, the baby turtles are our mascot, attracting guests interested in the wonders of the ocean. I can’t tell you the number of times a guest, visiting probably from some landlocked city in the the US or Canada, stands next to me on the beach in the morning, watching the baby turtles instinctively charge into the ocean. Inevitably, they will turn to me and say, “Wow, this is a life-changing experience!” Yes, “life-changing”. The first time I heard that exact phrasing, I was surprised. Then, I came to expect it and life-changing became normal.
The same was true about walking down the beach on any given October or early November night, within minutes, spotting a mother turtle laying her nest. Normal. Watching baby turtles return to the sea, normal.
So when a guests arrives and experiences these wonders for the first time, it reminds me of how exciting it was the first time I experienced these life-changing events myself.
When those volunteers approached me all those years ago, I didn’t appreciate all the work and resources it took to keep their operation running smoothly and effectively. Their work and outside resources are what made these life-changing experience happen every day for our guests.
To make that work efficient, we need vehicles to patrol the beach. The volunteers head out every night to get to those nests before poachers and predators. These are very real threats and time is of the essence. On a recent outing, as guests marveled at the mother turtle laying her eggs, a volunteer pulled me aside and beamed his flashlight into the brush just over the edge of the dune. Two red eyes reflected back at us, a tejon (coati mundi – in the raccoon family), just waiting his turn to come dig up the eggs and have dinner. The urgency is right over the dune staring back at us.
To keep these experiences special, memorable, life-changing, we need your help. Due to generous contributions from folks like Michael Franti, Kelly Slater, Patagonia and many more, we have assembled a collection of wonderful auction items to raise money to purchase of new vehicle (4×4 ATV) for the turtle sanctuary. The current vehicle is in the shop being repaired for the last time and we need to keep doing the work.
Work and resources comes in many forms. Thanks to 109 World and their social impact yoga retreats, we once again were able to make significant improvements to the turtle sanctuary infrastructure. With their funds for supplies and group of volunteers, they rolled up their sleeves and together as a community we accomplished what few could do alone.
It does take a community, and while I prefer that our newsletters and our blog posts not be requests for money and I hate feeling like we are walking around with our hand out, like a panhandler on the corner, it does take a community outside of just Playa Viva to get the greater work done. What I have come to realize is that we, at Playa Viva, are not the panhandlers, we are the broadcasters, spreading the word of the great work being done by volunteers who don’t have the same voice, the same access to like minded people like you. While the local team of volunteers know how to find the turtle nests before the predators find them, these same volunteers have absolutely no idea how to find donors like you who can make sure they get to the nests before the tejones do.
In that spirit, please spread the word of what all these great organizations are doing: La Tortuga Viva, Whales of Guerrero and Playa Viva’s Regenerative Trust. Please bid on one of these great items. Please make a tax deductible donation via our fiscal sponsor The Ocean Foundation. Please help us get to the turtle nests before the tejones. Please help us raise the funds necessary for a new ATV for the turtle camp.