Pam has asked me to brief you on the preparations for the coming Pelican Watch season.
Things are going well. The volunteer roster is gratifyingly full. We have one vacant shift on Jutten (18th to 23rd November) and we have just had a cancellation by Wina Loubser, for very happy family reasons, for the first shift on Malgas (24th to 29th October). The full roster is a surprise as, this being the 6th year of the program, we were anticipating a certain amount of volunteer fatigue. But, to the contrary, participation is becoming popular due, I think, mainly to a lot of publicity in magazines, in the press and your web page (We are very grateful for this. Thank you.) and also to word of mouth to some extent. There are a lot of people out there with a love of nature and the out doors and enjoyment in experiences like this. Which is great.
The program starts on 24th October and runs through to 22nd December on Jutten and 16th January on Malgas. The usual five full day shifts will be operated. Malgas is handled by two volunteers, mostly, without Park staff, support. The ideal complement on Jutten is four volunteers usually with a Park ranger in support, especially if the volunteers are inexperienced.
A few breakdowns: We have a total of 66 volunteers this year (47 last year). 10 of these are West Coast HRs, 28 are Pelican Watch veterans and 28 are first timers. 56 are from the Western Cape, 5 are from elsewhere in South Africa (4 from the Rand and 1 from the Lowveld), and 5 are from overseas (Ireland 2, Norway 2, Austria 1)
The West Cape HRs have allocated the lions share of this year's budget to upgrading facilities on the islands. On Jutten a large room has been cleaned out, painted and made good for additional accommodation. A proper bucket toilet has been set up, under a roof and with a door! A rain water tank has been installed and there has been a lot of painting, glazing and fixing. On Malgas there has also been a lot of painting, glazing and fixing. The ceiling of the main house has been made bird-proof and the residue of generations of pigeons has been removed. Kitchen and bathroom plumbing has been made functional and a proper ladder to the lookout roof is about to be set up. We are also hoping to service the jetty winch so that a course of steroids is not necessary to operate it.
I hope this is the sort of stuff that you want, Anton, If there is anything else please contact us again. Only too happy to spread the word.