southern west beaches are probably the most important
on the island; with Mounda being the most significant
as it is
protected Loggerhead Sea Turtle 'Caretta caretta'.
Opposite Mounda the nearby island of Zante can be seen,
on its beaches loggerhead nesting sites also still
exist. The nesting season lasts from June
to beginning of August.
During the night they come ashore on quiet beaches
to lay their
Camping is illegal on
these beaches and in the cars parked nearby.
Lights and noise can scare away nervous female nesting
disorientates a young hatchling. Vehicles are banned
driving on the beach as they compress the loose sand
on top of the nests. This suffocates the nest and makes
difficult for a live hatchling to crawl out. Do
not venture onto the beach at night; it is illegal during
the nesting season.
Mounda really is a lovely place to spend the day, the
gently shelving beach leading into warm shallow waters
are probably the best I have ever swum in. However,
local guidelines, so that no harm should befall
wonderful creatures to which these beaches belong.
Loggerhead turtles only nest in the dry sand between the
high tide line and the top part of the sand dunes.
This stops the nests becoming flooded and drowning the
It also allows the eggs to breathe during gestation. Placing
umbrellas, tent pegs, stakes and anchors in the dry
sand is very dangerous
for the turtles as it could
pierce a nest. Umbrellas, if they must be
used, should only be placed below the high tide line
in the wetter
Nests are not marked (nor
clearly visible) on Mounda beach; this is to prevent
human interference with the nests. If the
stake hits a nest and pierces one egg, the bacteria will
destroy the whole nest.
Litter and sand castles are significant hazards for
both female nesting turtles and the emerging hatchlings. Hatchlings
emerge from the nest in the cool of the night and use the
light of the moon and stars reflected on the sea to find their
to water. In their rush they don't recognise obstacles
such as litter, and embankments of sand castles or trenches.
obstacles will trap or disorientate the young hatchlings,
which will be prevented from reaching the sea. Less
than one in 1000 is thought to survive to adulthood.
When the female loggerheads
crawl up the beach to lay their eggs, they become very
exposed and are, therefore, very wary of interference. Crawling
such as litter or a sand castle will disturb a female from
her nesting. She will return to the water without
laying her eggs.
If she doesn't have sufficient time to make another journey
onto the beach on a following night she will dump the eggs
in the sea and all the potential hatchlings will be lost.
Sadly these ancient creatures, having nested peacefully
for tens of millions of years in these waters, now face
felt privileged in sharing this beautiful beach with
'Caretta caretta' but remember that these
beaches do not belong to man, they belong to these
ancient turtles who have been on this earth for millions
of years, so if you are one of the very few left here
at the end
obstacles that may have been left, and when you leave
make sure that
any litter, even if it is not your own!
the tiny little hatchlings an extra chance to survive
into these amazing adult living dinosaurs . . . 'Caretta