Miscellaneous Musings

Greek Turtle-ish Delight

After all the excitement of the wedding and speeches, see online at https://new.livestream.com/accounts/903610/Squires-Rani we the went to the beautiful Greek Island of Zante (Zakynthos) for our honeymoon. It was great to relax on the beach and do a bit of snorkeling. There were lots of fish round the rocks but they all swam away when I turned up.

It felt a bit invasive poking around the rocks looking for fish, especially underwater in their element. So the next day I went with the attitude of being a guest, and took a gift, some bread. This went down much better! I was soon surrounded by fish, some eating out of my hand. Even some of the bigger boss fish, who normally hide, turned up.

Friendly local fish

It just shows the connecting power of food that it even works underwater.

Feeding the fish

Keith’s Tip: Feeding wild fish too much can upset the ecological balance. In open water it may attract bigger, dangerous fish, who think you are part of the meal!

We were delighted to find that the area we were staying Vassilikos, is the main breeding ground for the loggerhead sea turtle. During the 1980’s the turtles were at ‘loggerheads’ with developers who were building beachfrount bars and hotels, and their numbers went into decline.

But the bay is now a marine reserve, and most of the beaches are protected and managed, some are for turtles only! Even the islands airport closes early so the turtles are not disturbed.

The only developed resort in the bay is Laganas which is like a protected zone, and habitat for young British tourists. It’s an 18 to 30’s clubbers paradise! Turtles and over 30’s tend to steer away from this area.

Gerakas nature reserve

One of the best turtle beaches is Gerikas which is a beautiful undeveloped sandy beach. Turtles lay their eggs at night, and are very easily disturbed, so you have to leave by sunset, and you are not allowed back till sunrise.

Gerakas Beach and the protected bay of Laganas

The reserve is managed by a charity called Archelon, which has hundreds of volunteers. They even have a turtle hospital in Athens! Injured turtles are sometimes flown there for free lifesaving operations

Vital Treatment

In the centre of the Laganas Bay is Turtle Island which not only has nesting turtles but is actually turtle shape. Even the vegetation has added to the effect by realistically colouring the shell!

Turtle shaped island

Samia was slightly more sceptical and thinking a lot of islands are ‘turtle shaped’ lumps sticking out of the water. But I maintained it was a beautiful example of the connectedness of nature.

Like a mighty tree there is something timeless about large sea turtles. They are long lived, seeming immortal, a relic of earlier eras. Turtles have remained unchanged for millions of years, going back to the great age of reptiles.

They are held sacred by many traditions. The domed shell is said to symbolise heaven, and the flat underside earth. So the turtle is an animal that unites heaven and earth. It cannot separate itself from the shell, as we cannot be separate from nature.

Kurma the great hindu turtle god

In Hinduism a turtle is the second incarnation of the powerful god Vishnu. And the whole creation is said to be supported on the base of a turtle.

We ‘shelled’ out to go turtle spotting on Marios Boat Trip and he took us all round the bay and close to some real turtles.

A real sea turtle

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