The Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta Caretta) is an endangered species, and we’re visiting the National Marine Park on Zakynthos.

Loggerhead sea turtles hatching at Laganas Bay, by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos
Loggerhead sea turtles hatching at Laganas Bay, by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos

Skipper’s Notes

In 2019 we were exploring almost every weekend the sandy beaches of Corfu with my best friend. One day we noticed a sign, placed to protect a Loggerhead Sea Turtle nest. Then we started seeing nests everywhere and counted over 30 nests over four sandy beaches!

Everyone in Greece knows about the few endangered species that live in our seas. The loggerhead sea turtles Caretta Caretta is one of the most endangered.

But that was all I knew at the time.

While lying under the sun I opened the Wikipedia page on Caretta Caretta and had a look at the WWF Greece website. Looking at the periods of nesting and hatching I realized that we might be very lucky to witness a turtle venture the beach to nest or see the little ones hatch!

And we did! One night we slept on the beach and the turtle nested next to us, while we were vast asleep, and a few weeks later we saw another nest’s eggs hatch.

It made me question our habit of sleeping and using these deserted sandy beaches. We love exploring and sleeping at deserted beaches during the warm summer nights, it is part of our summer tradition.

At some of those beaches we experienced new beach bars opening and during full moons friends organised beach parties.

Parties we go to….

Beach bars we go to….

I wondered. Were there always so many nests on Corfu? Are we encroaching on their habitat in a way that we will endanger them? How can we protect them, when the government is not doing this?

We had long discussions with my friend. I was wondering if we should let researchers know. If we should protect these beaches. If we should forbid people from staying there in the night. Would more people come to these beaches if they know the nests are here?

National Marine Park of Zakynthos

During our Sea Turtle Conservation Tour, we’ll visit the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. We will moor at the island’s main harbor and visit the Information Centre where we can talk to the researchers.

After receiving the information and get a deeper understanding about these ancient species, we will go to the actual park. We are allowed to visit the nesting site from sunrise until sunset and, if we are lucky, we will get a guided tour from the park’s volunteer.

During the nesting and hatching period it is forbidden to motor and anchor in the vicinity of the beach so we will travel there by land.