Hatchling Release


Trent had a great time at the Tortuga Vivero (turtle nursery) a few nights ago.  Sayulita’s beach is a nesting spot for the Pacific Ridley turtle.  A Ridley shell is about 30 inches long–these are not giant leatherbacks.  After 3-5 years in the ocean, the females land on the beach at night and dig a deep hole with their flippers.  After depositing an average of 40-60 eggs the females head back to the sea.  Eggs incubate 40-50 days, if left unmolested.  Both dogs and people will dig up the eggs to eat.    As part of the effort to educate the locals and increase the number of hatchlings, a small swathe of beachfront, maybe 40 feet across by 20 feet deep, has been roped off as a nursery. Each stick represents the eggs from one turtle nest, or nido. The wire helps contain the hatchlings until dusk.

Unfortunately the turtles can’t read the signs that say VIVERO, so they dig their nests wherever they land.  Volunteers walk the beach at night looking for mama turtles delivering their eggs.  They let her finish, then dig up the eggs and move them to the protected area.  Normally, when a hatchling erupts they head straight down to the water.  But to increase the survival rate (1 out of 100 in the wild), the turtle keeper holds all the hatchlings from each day, and releases them at dusk.  This increases the turtles strength and decreases their predators’ (mostly birds and fish) ability to see them.  The volunteers are trying educate locals and visitors about their habitat to increase the turtles survival rate.

A bit after dusk, the turtle keeper volunteer take a short 2×4 and drags it down the sand from the vivero to the water.  Then all the kids take hatchlings out, place them on the sand, and off they go.

Hope your Thanksgiving was nice–as ours was.  We went to a courtyard restaurant downtown that offered a  traditional meal, even pumpkin pie.  We went with Carson’s family, the boys played while we talked.  Annie of  Annie Bananie Jewelry joined our table, as did Nicki, one of the teachers from school. The lights went out for 10 minutes during dinner which added to the fun, especially for the little ones.  We all whipped out our cheap Mexican cell phones (which don’t always work well) but they do have a built-in flashlight.

We’ve had 2 cloudy days which is actually a treat.  It’s charming to see all the locals wearing long pants and sweaters and complaining about the cold when it’s only 70 instead of 80.


Luche Libre Live!

Net fishing





Trent with Citlali, my Spanish teacher’s daughter, playing at the beach. I think they had just covered her doll with sand.   


One hot and muggy day I had my hair cut

Mexican Revolution Day falls in November, and the town celebrates by having a parade.  Each school has a Flag Brigade, marches the students in uniform or costume, and the school bands play.   The boys dress as moustached revolutionaries with bandoliers like Pancho Villa and Emile Zapata, and  the girls wear colorful skirts and attach long yarn braids.   The highlight was the battle reenactment because of the noise and chaos–firecrackers snapping, randomly timed ‘booms’ for the cannon,  soldiers falling at will–it held the  kids’ attention.   



Kinder 1's dressing for the parade, except for Trent


Diego, freedom fighter from Kinder 1


The Kinder 3 class dressed for the parade


Pancho Villas and Senoritas


Watching the parade


Trent and Griffey not watching the parade


Luche Libre, or orchestrated wrestling, came to the rodeo arena in San Pancho one Sunday.  It was a warm and muggy night with lots of people in the stands and around the ring, dogs and kids running at will.   Live music started the evening and filled the lulls between matches.  It wasn’t all fighting.  Much time was spent getting introduced and strutting out to the ring,  hurling insults and being offended, getting thrown out of the ring onto the ground  and climbing back in, tag-teaming opponents, and writhing on the matt  in pseudo-agony.  These masked men in tights really know how to entertain.  At halftime some little kids in masks climbed into the ring to play around and really got into the swing of it.   







These Luche Libre pictures were taken by Donna Day, a professional photographer here in Sayulita.  As you can see, she does amazing things with light and color.   To see more of her work check out her site: 

D o n n a   D a y   P h o t o g r a p h y
Sayulita  329 291-3873
U.S.   206 282-5040  

Settling In

The New Kid at CVIS


Trent’s first full week of school just ended.   Costa Verde International School is a private pre-school and elementary in Sayulita with around 65 students.  Kinder 1 is for 3 year olds.  There were 6 kids, he makes 7.   Miss Claudia is the teacher and seems  nice, nurturing and patient.     Sadly the 3 year olds in his class are very young–can’t sit still, don’t listen, need constant re-direction.  There isn’t any teaching going on.  But then Trent’s not here for the teaching, but for sponging up the language.   I’m afraid he may be a bit bored already, as it’s really just 4 hours of play.   Because he already had a year of pre-school he seems to be more learning-ready than his classmates.  Trent prefers playing and being with the 4 and 5 year olds, the kids in Kinder 2 and Kinder 3.   I asked, but they  refused to move him up a level to the Kinder 2 class with 4 year olds.   We’ll see how it plays out over the next few months.  It doesn’t really matter which class he’s in as long as he wants to be there.  

Checking out his new classmates


 This is a bilingual school, with about 60% Mexican and 40% Anglo kids.  They hear Spanish and English mixed all day–not English in the morning and Spanish in the afternoon.  The focus is on ecology; this is Mexico’s first “green” school.  On the grounds are composting, recycling, garden beds of sustainable plants. They sponsor community projects like clean the beach, release the baby turtles, litter awareness.  Each class incorporates some aspect of these into their day.  The kids wear white or green CVIS  t-shirts and khaki shorts.  

Miss Claudia and Kinder 1's


This is only the 2nd year of operation for CVIS, so it’s still very much in the growth stage.   Some of the classrooms are portables, some were built last summer.  On a long weekend this past November a group of parents put in a 25′ x 40′ concrete slab now used for yoga class, performances and during recess.  The master plan envisions a full curriculum kindergarten through 12th grade, with all buildings made from green materials, much of the garden and fruit production feeding the students, composting /recycling what’s left.  There is an artist’s rendering of the plan on the website. Fundraising seems be done in the States: the CVIS website lists shows a NY, NY mailing address. 






In the November Newsletter for  CVIS there was a reminder to check heads daily for lice.  Uggghh.  Guess that’s just part of life down here.  As are all the little ants running across my keyboard.   
No school next Monday-there are SO MANY holidays and vacations!  Three 3-day weekends in November alone.  Almost 3 weeks at Christmas. 2 weeks at Easter.  But the school year ends mid-July to compensate.  Then school re-starts the end of August.  So it’s really just 6 weeks off for summer.   July and August are the hot and humid months.  September and October are the hot and rainy months.  These are the months that locals and expats go on extended vacations to the States and Canada, or other parts of Mexico.   Despite Low Season rates, the town is practically deserted–no one wants to be here then!  

Lets see, a snake, a tarantula, and a scorpion were all found this week, on school grounds.  Mexican school pets?  This Saturday morning is an all-school clean-up.  Glad they found those critters already.  We have a gecko at the house, who lives behind the mirror on the wall.  Each night we see him creep along where the wall meets the ceiling in a hurry-up and wait scuttle to the door. 
Saw a poster promoting LUCHE LIBRE which is Mexican wrestling.  Think WWF and Hulk Hogan.  Definitely going to take Trent to that.

Below is a link that is worth checking out if you want to know more about Sayulita.  This is how I found our little house and school. 
www.sayulitalife.com cultural info, house rentals, restaurants, businesses etc…     

www.elsayulero.com weekly community newsletter



Trent and I have moved to SAYULITA,  MEXICO for the next 18 months, to study SPANISH.   We are near Puerto Vallarta, and have rented a small house with a big yard.  We are a 5 minute walk to school and a 10 min walk to the beach.   EVERYTHING is working out wonderfully.  Check back every so often for  info, stories and lots of pictures.