My volunteering experience for sea turtles conservation in Greece!
In September, I had the chance to take part in a conservation and protection programme for marine turtles on the island of Kefalonia, in Greece. On this occasion, it is possible to leave for a period of 2 to 4 weeks, in complete immersion with volunteers from all over the world (England, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand...)
After a 2.5 hour flight from Paris, I was welcomed by one of the "team leaders", the team that trains the volunteers on site. I quickly got to know the team, the environment in which I would be working for the next two weeks, and the missions I would be given...
The beginning is strong: my first mission is at 6.30 am, I have to pedal for 30 minutes but the landscapes I see are worthy of a postcard. The sunrise, the deserted beaches, the sound of the waves and the feeling of being in a country I don't know, that I am ready to discover, are all memories that will stay with me for a long time.
The team on site is very welcoming, very quickly a spirit of cohesion takes over and the links forged during the missions continue in life at the villa. We share our meals together, we go out to dinner in town, small groups are formed by affinity. We also have a lot of free time outside the missions to discover the surroundings, to go to the beach and to enjoy the swimming pool which is just a few minutes walk away.
The assignments themselves are very varied. The timetable is designed so that no two days are alike and everyone can enjoy them. One of the most magical moments of this stay was undoubtedly when we were able to witness the birth of about 170 turtles! All the volunteers were present on the beach to help the little turtles reach the sea safely.
On site, the founders of the programme, Chanel and Nikos, live in a small separate house with their two children, their dog Emma and their many cats! Chanel tells me that they founded the programme in 2012 and have been working hard for over ten years. Their passion for the marine world (she trained as a veterinarian and he has always lived in contact with the sea) led them to create this project on the island of Kefalonia. The lack of information and the lack of action of the inhabitants of the island towards the turtles pushed them to work with the turtles. With this programme, they allow many volunteers to learn more about the history of marine turtles, to raise awareness among volunteers and tourists about their condition and, above all, to participate in their protection, as they are on the verge of extinction. The proposed missions allow us to protect the nests, measure the beaches and monitor the turtles' behaviour in order to better understand the environment in which they live.
In short, this programme is a great opportunity to discover this magnificent Greek island, to meet people from different backgrounds, to speak English and above all to make yourself useful during your holiday!
more info: https://www.aliore.org/benevole-aupres-des-tortues-marines-sur-l-ile-de-cephalonie-en-grece-a.html