Thursday 28 October 2010

Testudines (1): Sea Turtle Mystery, Caretta Caretta - in Greece

Turtle Priority
I was particularly thrilled to learn that there were breeding Sea Turtles (Caretta Caretta) in our area of the south-western Peloponnese. I wondered if we would see any sign of these beautiful but endangered creatures.

Those of you who have followed my blogs may know by now that I always enjoy seeing unusual animal road signs (see below) - and although this sign referred to the beach and sand dunes, I have included it since it was in a car parking area!

Turtles allowed - and dogs on leads ...
The turtles lay their eggs in the sand dunes and then when the young hatch, they make their way down to the sea under cover of darkness. The adults certainly chose some beautiful beaches for their nurseries.

Surprisingly strong waves
I kept an eye open for any tell-tale signs, like shuffle marks in the sand. I stopped in my tracks for a moment when I saw the scaly object below ... but only for a moment!

False alarm!
Turtles have a number of predators. Sometimes they get caught up in fishing nets. You can read about 'Rafael' (here) and how he was rescued after a fishing net encounter. 

Fishing net may be fun for cats, but can endanger turtles
We kept a sharp eye out, but there were - apparently - no turtles to be seen. You can imagine my surprise when I arrived back in the UK and looked at the photo below. I can't be sure, but I think there may be something lurking in the water!

Archelon is a Greek-based organisation dedicated to the protection of Sea Turtles. The Peloponnese boasts about 900 turtle nests per year. Volunteers carry out patrols in key areas to ensure their protection. They try to raise public awareness through education initiatives such as slide shows. You can read more about these conservation measures here.

For a wonderful blog post on the Sea Turtle, do visit Vickie Henderson's Art blog here

A Couple of Unusual Animal Road Signs ...


Randy Emmitt said...

I have a good friend that works with the sea turtles at Cape Lookour on the North carolina coast here in the us. Enjoyed the article and under water photos.

grammie g said...

Hi Caroline...Saw your comment on Faith Fabric and photos and thought I would check your out..
The photos of the turtle and your write up..very nice!!
Fishing lines are very much a problem here to.
Nice blog!!

Mary said...

How interesting! It would be so much fun to see a bunch of sea turtles. I like your suprise photo!

Rosie Nixon Fluerty said...

Caroline that's some road sign! Sea Turtles would be so interesting to see in reality.

Shawn said...

Hi Caroline,

great blog you have here! You seem to have had a great time photographing these critters. Wonder what that 'scaly thing' buried in the sand was?

joey said...

Loving sea turtles, this is a great post. Thank you for sharing.

Andrea said...

The turtles are lovely even if taken by ordinary camera instead of underwater camera. I haven't seen a turtle in its natural habitat. We have a site here also in the country called Turtle Island, where a particular species lays its eggs. Regarding that kind of photo shots, i saw beautiful angel fishes last week on my vacation and i also wasn't able to get the clear shot, too hazy, wonder how to do that.

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you all for your comments. And Scott, I clicked over to the Klee ... whose work I first came across (along with that of Miro) via a pelmanism set of cards as a child.