Volunteering vacationers

Actualizado: 9 de feb de 2021

Names: Bill and Betsy Miller

Country: United States

Program: Sea Turtle Protection Program

Fun Fact: A strip of beach just past Akumal Bay Beach and Wellness Resort has been coined by CEA “The Miller Zone” as this is the zone that Bill and Betsy patrol during their volunteer stints.

Now retired, Bill and Betsy first visited Akumal in 2011. As Betsy describes, “it was an e-mail travel special that alerted us to the Place of Turtles and since we are both scuba divers and love turtles, we booked straight away. And to our surprise when we arrived, there were nests right on the resort property. We were thrilled.”

Being the curious and enthused couple they were, they met another like-minded voluncationer (Tom Cochran) working with the Turtle Program at CEA and joined him during his patrols to see what the work entailed. Needless to say, they were sold on the idea of getting involved. When the Millers returned home, they checked their calendars and a month later they were back in Akumal volunteering with CEA.

“That’s how it all began,” explains Bill. «We have been back every year, usually for two weeks and once for four weeks. This year we were in Akumal twice.”

Bill and Betsy have found their way to balance vacation time with volunteering. The vacation part, as Bill says, “… gives us a chance to stay at a nice resort and we don’t have to worry about food or housecleaning, which allows us to focus on our volunteer work. After our patrols we always find time to enjoy the afternoons by snorkelling, relaxing or reading, but only after our work is done. We come to Akumal to work with the turtles.”

As Betsy pointed out, “It is the turtles that brought us here in the first place and it is the turtles that keep bringing us back. It is an unbelievable experience to witness first hand a female digging for hours on end to lay her eggs. And then there is the work of cleaning a nest that has hatched. Finding hatchlings at the bottom that may not have made it out on their own is amazing. You know that you have made a difference in saving a few more and giving them a chance to survive.”

We know we are lucky—we get a chance to see and do things that most people would never be able to see or do. Working right there, close and personal, with sea turtles is amazing. We love it. Of course, it is hard work. It is physically challenging, but it is so worth it! And as long as we are able, needed, and wanted, we plan to continue to volunteer on our vacations.”

For those interested in combining volunteering activities while on vacation, please contact communications.ceakumal@gmail.com

#volunteer #SeaTurtleProtectionProgram

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