The evening was very warm so we sat outside in front of the cooler which provided more cooling as the temperature slowly dropped. I wasn’t particularly hungry as it was so hot but made up a salad once it had cooled down a little.

I eventually put Luis, Oskar and Fido into the van although Skinny opted to stay outside all night. I tried one of the evening meditations from my Balance collection to discover it worked successfully when I woke up around 01:30. By then it was cooler to I retired to my boudoir leaving Skinny, Isabella, Obi and Charlie outside.

My brain was jangled awake by the alarm so I gathered my thoughts before commencing the day. Unusually, Isabella was quite calm and controlled so we were able to make it out reasonably quickly with the minimum of disruption to our closest neighbours.

Three cars were parked in the beach car park but we didn’t come across anyone on the Promontory. A motorhome and Land Rover were parked on Alonaki Beach as we walked up. The decreasing early light is becoming more noticeable as it was difficult to keep track of the dogs on the way to Plakaki. Otherwise, it was very calm until we walked back up the Promontory on the Big Beach. I took a photo of the dogs from the rocks.

Dog busily looking at something

I quickly retraced my steps to discover what was interesting the dogs to find them gathered around a turtle hatchling which had washed up on the shingle. I moved the dogs on and could see traces in the sand where the hatchlings had dug themselves out of the nest and dragged themselves to the water’s edge. It’s important that the hatchlings get to the sea under their own steam as this is part of the orientation process. There is always one individual: Charlie discovered one heading completely the wrong direction so would never have made it to the sea. I gave some help to this one as its fate would have been sealed.

There will be a number of hatchlings over the next month or so. If they have correctly read the manual, they should emerge after dark to give themselves the best chance of making it to the sea. I shall keep the dogs off the Big Beach for the next month or so in case a mother comes to make another nest and so that any hatchlings are not hindered by the dogs. It has been calculated that the chances of a [loggerhead] turtle making it from hatchling to adult are between 1:1,000 or even 1:10,000. These odds are not good.

Many factors contribute to the high mortality including making it from the nest to the water’s edge, surviving gulls and other seabirds as well as fish. Other factors which affect adults particularly include snagging in marine debris (discarded nets, plastic bags etc) being caught by hooks or fishing nets or just natural predators such as sharks. Otherwise, it’s possible for a turtle to live to around 60 years reaching maturity between 15-20 years. Females produce around four clutches of eggs every 2-3 years, usually on the beach they originated. Pollution (including light), tourism, development, dredging and natural predators stack the odds against the hatchling making it to maturity.

Having deposited the dogs at the camping, I returned to the nest site and obliterated the tracks from the nest to the sea. There had also been some inquisitive digging on the part of the dogs. I went for a swim from the end of the Big Beach where the fine gravel gives a good access to the water which is mostly free from rocks.

Refreshed, I returned to the camping and rode into Paleochora for lemons and bananas amongst other things stopping for another swim off Alonaki on the way back. Time was getting on so the dogs were particularly pleased to see me.

The day has included research on sea turtles, catching up with lost sleep, making ice tea and generally chilling out. It has not been as hot as yesterday with a high so far of a mere 38.5C!


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