[102nd Cruise Report]Manzanillo (Mexico)
The Ocean Dream made its way across the Pacific Ocean to Central America, arriving at the port of Manzanillo in Mexico. Today we participated in soccer exchange and turtle conservation programs.
~Playing in the soccer capital of Mexico~
Soccer is very popular in Mexico, and today our program was playing several games with local students. About a 20 minute drive from the port, we arrived at our soccer field shaded under some palm trees.
After three matches (mens, womens, mixed), we handed over the Peace Boat UPA relief goods to the community. This kind of direct aid truly brings home the impact our actions have.
After working up a sweat during the match, we headed to a local restaurant for lunch. Being Mexico, we had a fitting lunch of tacos, with all range of toppings including pork, cheese, and even chocolate, and soon everyone made their own delicious masterpieces, complete with onions and chili sauce.
At the end of the day, we exchanged uniforms and contact details and took a group photo. Even without a common language, the connections we built today through a common game will undoubtedly continue on, along with beautiful memories to keep.
~Learning about sea turtle conservation~
Today we visited a sea turtle conservation center whose work mostly focuses on conservation and research into sea turtle repopulation, as well as mangrove preservation.
After a brief explanation of the centers activities, we boarded a small boat to head out into the mangroves themselves.
One of the main activities of this facility is to help with the incubation of turtle eggs, taking hatched eggs back to the center for incubation. Over 25 years some 2 million eggs have been incubated, however this is only succesful in about 70% of cases, with a further 2% of hatched turtles not making it to adulthood. Hearing about the difficulties both the center and turtles alike faced, it provided us with an excellent opportunity to appreciate once again how precious life is.
At the very end, we were lucky enough to see some newly hatched turtles making their way to the sea. Despite being pushed continually back to land by the waves, the baby turtles persevered in heading to the ocean, showing that life does find a way. In visiting the center we were able to experience how humans and nature can coexist, as well as the responsibility of humans to help restore natural ecosystems that have been disrupted.