Meet Francisco Alemán, your Head of Security. Originally from Loma Bonita, Oaxaca, Francisco has lived in Cancun for almost 30 years and celebrated 21 years with Royal Resorts on June 21.
Francisco started his Royal Resorts career at The Royal Mayan and The Royal Caribbean and then spent three years at The Royal Cancun before moving to The Royal Sands in 2001 where he was Head of Security until 2012. He then moved to The Royal Mayan, The Royal Caribbean and The Royal Islander as Assistant to the Royal Resorts Security Manager and was promoted to lead the Grand Residences security team in 2013.
“I have a team of 26 guards to patrol the resort and the beach, Francisco says.” “That’s 800 meters of shoreline and the vacant lot next door, it’s a large area to watch over. In addition to watching over the grounds, we are always on hand to assist our owners and guests with anything they need, from helping them with the stairs, luggage or moving loungers for them to giving them information about the beach and pool, sea and weather conditions, and more. I think that the service we offer here is much more personalized in keeping with The Leading Hotels of the World® standards.
“We also help guests who may have mislaid something and we handle all Lost and Found reports and items, guest parking and we provide assistance in the event of an accident. We are trained to give first aid and have equipment on site and, depending on the nature of the incident, we call the doctor and report to management, Francisco adds.” “And thanks to the register we have of all the vehicles coming to and from the resort we have been able to recover items left in taxis and return them to guests.”
During their patrols, Francisco and his team regularly come across some of the wildlife that makes its home in the mangroves behind the property, such as raccoons, coatimundis, iguanas and crocodiles of all sizes, the largest seen to date was two meters long. They do not patrol the wetlands or further south along the beach as the Puerto Morelos municipal force polices the area.
Francisco and his team are even busier than usual on night watch during the summer months as they keep a look out for nesting sea turtles. A turtle pioneer, he has been involved in the Royal Resorts conservation program since 1998. He says, “It’s a wonderful job, tiring, but very rewarding.”
“Before the season begins, we attend a refresher course given by the biologists from City Hall who coordinate the Turtle Protection Program in Cancun and Puerto Morelos, he explains.” “They give seminars on turtle biology and behavior, species identification, show us how to dig nests in the corral or turtle nursery, handle the eggs, the hatchlings and more.
“When we come across a female turtle on the beach we need to be very careful so as not to startle her otherwise she could return to the sea without laying her eggs. We watch over her while she digs her nest and lays her eggs and then we move them to the corral where they will be safe from the waves, predators such as birds, crabs, raccoons, dogs, and from poachers. We keep a record of the date and time of nesting, the species and the number of eggs. The nest that we then dig in the corral has to be identical in depth and shape as the one the turtle digs and the eggs literally have to be handled with kid gloves, they are so fragile.”
Forty-five to 60 days later, the eggs hatch. Francisco says, “I love seeing the joy on the faces of our owners and guests when they see the baby turtles being released. I feel very proud that we are helping to protect this ancient creature and also doing something to make our visitors happy. Many of them have never seen a turtle before, only on TV, and they are witnessing something precious, an experience they will treasure for the rest of their lives.”
This dedicated turtle guardian has rescued nests on a number of occasions as hurricanes advance towards the Mexican Caribbean coast, moving the eggs out of harm’s way and saving them from the storm surge. He has watched over the nests in basements and storerooms as miraculously, against all the odds, the tiny storm survivors are born in coolers filled with sand.
Francisco and his staff are often approached by owners and guests who want to accompany them on their nightly turtle patrols. “It makes me happy to think that they want to help us and that we will witness this amazing spectacle together, it is one of nature’s wonders, he says.” “This year the Mexican Environmental Agency (SEMARNAT) has changed the rules relating to turtle releases in an attempt to reduce the amount of handling that the baby turtles are subject too, so our guests will no longer be able to hold them, nevertheless, watching them scuttle down the beach towards the waves and a new life at sea is still an incredible experience.”
Francisco has seen an increase in the number of turtle nests, eggs and hatchlings at Royal Resorts over the last five years. Turtle nesting seasons are cyclical with a good year being followed by a slow year. As 2013 was a record season and 2014 was slow, he hopes that 2015 will be a good year. Indeed, the number of nests in the Grand Residences corral has already overtaken the total for last year.
In his 21 years at Royal Resorts and now at Grand Residences, Francisco has met many members and says that it is always a pleasure to greet them at Grand Residences. “I feel very proud that they remember me, he adds.” “My message to all our owners is that we will always keep them safe and look after them in their home away from home. They can count on us for anything they need during their stay. We hope that they enjoy their vacation and that they come back soon. I would also like to invite owners who will be staying with us during the summer and early fall to join us when we release the baby turtles.”