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Home / Impressions / Travel Stories / SOS Sea Turtles
SOS Sea Turtles

The loggerhead sea turtles, or caretta-caretta, go way back to the times when dinosaurs still ruled the earth. But whereas dinosaurs long since have disappeared, the caretta-caretta continue on their journey of life. Being amphibian, the females go ashore at night, between May and July, to lay their eggs on sandy beaches.

Malia’s Potamos Beach is such a nesting place. But the caretta-caretta can only lay eggs in a peaceful and dark environment. She carefully picks a spot, lays her eggs (around 120, as big as a ping-pong ball), covers the egg shaft and returns to sea. The baby-turtles are hatched after 7 to 9 weeks later, also at night. It is essential that they walk to the sea to strengthen their legs. They follow the moonlight and remember the way, so that in their turn the females can come back to lay their eggs on the very same beach.

The caretta-caretta’s nesting habits have been severely disturbed, as, along with environmental pollution, tourist resorts along the Cretan coast are increasingly developed. As a consequence, their number has diminished dramatically over the last decades, to a point where they are an endangered species.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece (S.T.P.S) has the following advice for visitors during the summer months:

  • Leave beaches clear at night during nesting season;
  • Shade lights when necessary and lower the music volume;
  • Dispose of rubbish properly (plastic bags mistaken for jelly fish are lethal);
  • When spotting a caretta-caretta at night on the beach, do not make noise or flicker light; they’ll be distracted and disorientated;
  • Do not – under any circumstances – touch baby-turtles on their way to the sea: they must orientate themselves and the walk strengthens them;
  • Mark egg nest locations somehow and inform the S.T.P.S. on tel. 28310-52160 or 28310-72288.