Thanks to volunteer help and public support, “Eleuthir-Leon” is back in the sea swimming free

‘Did you hear that dad? You should mind the turtles when you dive!’ a child advised its scuba diver father. The family had just been informed that they were visiting a nesting beach and that the waters were home to the loggerhead sea turtle.

“Eleuthir-Leon” is one of the lucky ones: firstly because he was found and secondly because he was immediately taken to the ARCHELON Rescue Centre for treatment. On 11th July dozens of holidaymakers were given the opportunity to watch him make his trip back to the sea which has been his home for all these years. We now hope that continued public support and mobilisation will keep him coming back to these waters for the years to come.

“Eleuthir-Leon” went through so much, but he finally did it. As his name suggests, he pulled through bravely and was eventually set free.

Over the centuries, sea turtles have been the inspiration for myths and legends in many cultures, a favourite material for storytellers, as well as a symbol for wisdom and prudence due to their longevity. One of the earliest ancient Greek coins bears the carved image of a Caretta-caretta sea turtle, while a Hindu legend tells the tale of how the Earth rests on the backs of four elephants that stand on the shell of a turtle and travel on an infinite sea. According to the myth, if the turtle dies the elephants will lose their balance and the Earth will perish. The moral of the story is that the survival of all species is the key to the planet’s ecological balance.

By releasing a sea turtle after its recovery, ARCHELON seeks to help the animal return to its natural habitat. What is more, such events take place in public so that people can experience the moment, realise the significance of the species in the chain of life and join the effort to protect it.

ARCHELON would like to thank Grecotel Hotel and Resorts for their kind contribution: by adopting “Eleuthir-Leon” for these six months they covered his treatment and transport costs. Special thanks go to the Caramel Grecotel Boutique Resort for hosting the event and giving locals, visitors and school students a warm welcome. Furthermore ARCHELON would like to thank the Rethymno Municipal Council represented by Mayor George Marinakis and Counsellor Thodoris Ninou, the Regional Unit of Rethymno represented by Mr. Manos Nikoloudakis member of the Department for the Environment and Water Resources, as well as the port authorities who also attended the event. Finally, the presence of Mr. Nicholas Stampolidis, Archaeology Professor at the University of Crete and initiator of the Museum of Ancient Eleutherna was a great honour for us.

After months of treatment in a protected indoor facility, a sea turtle touches the water again and this is a precious and moving moment, full of powerful emotions that bring tears to the eyes and smiles to the faces. It is the moment the turtle has been anticipating and which our friends and volunteers have been waiting for while looking after each one of the rehabilitated turtles.

For my part, I hope that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this experience of a lifetime; catch a glimpse of the turtle as it takes a breath, then dives into this deep blue sea and is gone for good, embarking on new adventures.

Note: ‘Eleuthir’ is an ancient Greek name closely related with the word ‘eleftheria’ which means ‘freedom’.

Information: Athanasia Nikolopoulou, Crete Program Coordinator, Tel.: +30 6937352379



    Sea Turtles Surprise us: if you see tracks on the beach, help ARCHELON's research!

    Not all beaches on Greece's extensive coastline are suitable for sea turtle nesting, but sometimes these marine reptiles surprise us! This summer, ARCHELON is asking for your help to investigate a phenomenon called "sporadic nesting".

    Read more

    ATTENTION! Sea turtles are not pets: Do not touch them or feed them!

    In areas where a sea turtle associates human presence with food, it’s behavior changes. The turtle treats humans as well as other turtles as competitors in its feeding grounds and tries to drive them away with bites.

    Read more

    30 Years of Hope: The Sea Turtle Rescue Centre of ARCHELON Celebrates World Sea Turtle Day

    Every year on June 16th, we celebrate World Sea Turtle Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about these magnificent creatures and the threats they face. This year is particularly important for ARCHELON, as the Sea Turtle Rescue Centre marks 30 years of operation.

    Read more

    Poster contest for children and young adults: Welcome the 2024 turtle hatchlings on the beaches!

    Watercolors, markers, collage, computer, phone? Everything is useful. Use your creativity and imagination to make an A3 or A4 size poster announcing that the 2024 sea turtle eggs are about to hatch.

    Read more

    Amvrakikos Project 2024: Special Call for a Field Leader

    ARCHELON is looking for a highly motivated person to lead its project in Amvrakikos Gulf, one of the few foraging sites for loggerhead turtles in Greece linking several populations nesting across the Mediterranean region.

    Read more

    Τhe nesting of loggerhead sea turtles started earlier this year and the effects of the climate crisis on the oceans are worrying

    For the first time, in the 40 years of ARCHELON records, the first sea turtle nest was found in Laganas Gulf, Zakythos on May 10th. Scientific predictions of the nesting season moving earlier in the spring due to climate change are being confirmed.

    Read more

    Save Turtles, See Greece on a Budget

    Dreaming of pristine Greek beaches and a chance to make a real difference? Here's why June and September are the perfect months to volunteer with sea turtle conservation efforts in Greece!

    Read more

    Sea Turtle Festival for Kids 2024

    Save the date! On Saturday 18 May at 11:00, the ARCHELON Rescue Centre opens its doors to welcome young and old sea turtle friends who want to celebrate, explore, learn, play and travel magically in the Mediterranean Sea. We are waiting for you to strengthen our message for a better and sustainable planet!

    Read more

    A successful year for the International Sea Turtle Symposium

    The International Sea Turtle Symposium concluded triumphantly this March in Pattaya, Thailand, with ARCHELON actively participating.

    Read more
  10. OUR NEWS

    A Morning Beach Patrol with ARCHELON

    The camera lens of Stefanos and Maria of SteMajourneys caught a rare sight in the early morning: a Loggerhead sea turtle nesting! The volunteers in Chania took action right away to protect the nest.

    Read more
  11. OUR NEWS

    Protecting sea turtles in Rethymno- Our Ocean, an Ocean of Potential

    The 9th International Conference "Our Ocean", which was held in Athens from April 15 to 17, was successfully completed. ARCHELON had the honor to actively take part in the conference and hosted a side event.

    Read more
  12. OUR NEWS

    Coordination for the protection of sea turtles in Rethymno: Local authorities and tourism businesses join forces

    The meeting, which took place on April 5, 2024, in the building of the Regional Unit of Rethymno, touched upon key issues, such as the observance of conservation measures for the protection of the Loggerhead sea turtle. Given the tourist activity on the nesting beaches, the active participation of the tourism sector in the implementation of the measures is necessary.

    Read more
  13. OUR NEWS

    "Tourists and turtles?" The environmental awareness campaign of ARCHELON spreads to the nesting beaches of the Loggerhead sea turtle

    After the pandemic, ARCHELON - the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece - is once again mobilizing on the path to sustainable tourism. The aim of the new campaign is to provide information on the appropriate code of conduct for visitors to all nesting beaches, in cooperation with the tourism sector.

    Read more
  14. OUR NEWS

    LIFE MareNatura - The largest marine biodiversity program in Greece

    Read more
  15. OUR NEWS

    Citizens inform us of sea turtle strandings

    ARCHELON started the effort to record the incidents of dead turtles washing up on the Greek shores in 1992. In recent years there has been an increase in these records which may be due to more of our fellow citizens reporting such incidents. Learn more…

    Read more
1 out of 0
Subscribe to our newsletter!
Learn about our latest actions and find out about our programs and how you can help sea turtles!