The loggerhead sea turtles are back to the beaches of Crete to nest


An unusual incident happened yesterday morning on the nesting beach in Rethymnon, one day before the eve of World Sea Turtle Day. During the morning recording, Mahé Le Blet, an ARCHELON volunteer from France, found traces of a turtle heading from the sea right into the garden of a beach hotel in Rethymno. Seeing that the tracks had passed through the open hotel gate, she entered the area and found the turtle in the hotel pool. Following her surprise after consultation with her team, Mahé resolutely dived into the pool and within 5 minutes, got the turtle out with the help of another volunteer and a citizen. They consequently let her go to the sea, where the animal gladly returned after its night adventure.


The route of the disorientated sea turtle was walked by the volunteers in 6.5 minutes but, due to its weight and the slow way it moves in the sand, the animal probably wandered for some time at night between umbrellas and sunbeds. "Fortunately, both field leaders in Rethymno, Mahé and Eva Horcajo from Spain, had previously volunteered at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Center in Glyfada, Attica, so the response of the team was immediate and correct. The turtle returned to the sea in good condition", says Lydia Koutrouditsou, biologist, Project Manager of ARCHELON in Crete.

Every year in the spring, female and male sea turtles arrive in the coasts of Crete in order to mate and usually somewhere in late May the first nesting activity of females is recorded. A new life cycle of loggerheads in the Mediterranean begins with their nests on the beaches of Rethymno, Chania and Messara bay that are part of the ecological network NATURA 2000 and the responsibility of the Management Bodies for these sites. Sporadic nests will be found in other areas and especially in Sitia, as every year.


After 50 to 60 days the eggs hatch and the hatchlings reach the sea where their first journey begins. Little is known about the first year of life, but as they have many natural predators, a very small percentage of them will eventually reach adulthood.

ARCHELON's program for monitoring the reproductive activity and protection of sea turtle nests in Crete has been ongoing since 1990. Researchers/ volunteers, who despite the pandemic came to Crete again from Greece and abroad, are surveying the beaches daily, recording and protecting nests. The vigilance of the Environmental Services of the Regional Units and the Region of Crete, as well as of the Coast Guard is valuable, as well as the cooperation of local companies for the observance of protection measures.

We can enjoy the summer and the sea without disturbing the turtles and their nests, if we apply the following:

• In the period May - October the cleaning of the beach should be done only manually. Heavy vehicles should not be used as they will destroy the nests.

• Vehicles are not allowed to enter and drive on the beach.

• Sunbeds and umbrellas should be placed on rows perpendicular to the wave and at a distance of more than 3 meters from each other. Sunbeds should be removed / hung high every night (at sunset) to make room for sea turtles to breed, according to current legislation.

• The sand between the beach furniture should not be covered by wooden corridors.

• Beach furniture should be washed in an area further up from the sand, so that nests will not get flooded.

• Beach parties are not allowed.

• Human presence, noise and artificial lighting should be avoided on the beach during the night.

• Remember that sea turtles live free in the wild- avoid feeding or touching them.

• The traces of turtles and hatchlings on the beach must be left intact, until the daily survey is done by the research team of ARCHELON.

With these small moves of caring, we will all be able to actively participate in the protection of this ancient species, the oldest visitor to the beaches of Crete.


ARCHELON, Lydia Koutrouditsou, Program Manager of Crete, tel. 693 735 2379

Samaria National Park – Western Crete Management Body: tel. 2821045570

Eastern Crete Management Body: tel. 2810393265




    Sea turtles in the Greek wetlands of international importance

    World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on February 2. These vulnerable areas of the planet are a refuge for migratory birds and other wildlife species, including sea turtles. ARCHELON is present in wetlands that play an important role for sea turtles, such as the Amvrakikos Gulf.

    Read more

    Why are ARCHELON’s projects international?

    ARCHELON’s sea turtle conservation projects are organized with the valuable contribution of volunteers who come to Greece every year not just from Europe but from more distant places such as South Korea, Australia, and Colombia. Speaking English while carrying out fieldwork or public awareness activities as well as when interacting with each other in the campsites is essential to the projects.

    Read more

    ARCHELON has been running a special hospital for sea turtles with tanks and impressive old train wagons for 30 years in Glyfada

    Turtles with IV and bandages, rehabilitation and recovery tanks, special environmental enrichment equipment, recovery greenhouses, and… renovated train wagons! The hospital for injured and sick turtles that ARCHELON has set up in the 3rd marina of Glyfada, next to the sea, is certainly something out of the ordinary.

    Read more

    What happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023?

    A world record for reproductive life for a sea turtle and 40 years of ARCHELON’s actions for protecting sea turtles are some of the moments we celebrated together this year. So, what happened in the world of ARCHELON in 2023? Here are some highlights of the past year.

    Read more

    Assuming responsibility for the environment brings more meaning into our lives

    “ARCHELON is an opportunity, not only for the animals and the ecosystems, but also for us who participate in it and for the society in which we operate”. Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of ARCHELON, talks about the efforts of the organization and about what he aspires for the future.

    Read more

    Forty years later: the world of ARCHELON has expanded

    Thomas Arapis, President and founding member of the Association gives the current coordinates of ARCHELON. "We encounter many turtles in our daily activities, and even more people, many more people actually, who help us. Amongst them are the people who work for us, they stand out for they represent the Association out there, through thick and thin".

    Read more

    19 Environmental NGOs ask the Greek Government not to consent to a change in the wolf protection status in Europe

    Read more

    Messages of love from the world turtle community!

    Celebrating ARCHELON's 40th Anniversary we have received warm messages from the turtle community worldwide

    Read more

    When the past becomes a lighthouse for the future

    Thomas Arapis, the President of ARCHELON and one of its founding members talks about the quality and values, and the people who marked the setting up and subsequent action of ARCHELON. “Dimitris Margaritoulis taught us, not only the methodology for monitoring and protecting them, but also what it means to organize tasks, take responsibility, work as a team, evaluate our course and cooperate with each other”, he says.

    Read more
  10. OUR NEWS

    Notes of a volunteer (Part 2): Ηead trauma happens more often and is more serious than you think

    Jessica Van Damme who volunteered at the ARCHELON Sea Turtle Rescue Centre for 6 weeks in 2023, talks about what she learned while taking care of sea turtles with human caused injuries.

    Read more
  11. OUR NEWS

    Notes of a volunteer (Part 1): Jessica Van Damme was at the Rescue Centre

    “During my 6-week stay, there were more than 30 injured sea turtles being treated at the Rescue Centre. Seven of them were successfully released, but, during the same period there were five new arrivals – all turtles with human-caused injuries. We, humans, are their biggest threat!”, writes Jessica.

    Read more
  12. OUR NEWS

    Summer 2024: Come back to sea turtle conservation as a leader!

    Joining or returning to ARCHELON’s sea turtle projects as a Field Leader will give you the opportunity to lead specific activities as well as train and help others in the projects. These positions provide a higher level of experience in nature conservation/ environment protection, as well as improved communication and leadership skills. Hurry and apply now! Only a limited number of experienced and skilled volunteers are selected to serve as leaders in each project.

    Read more
  13. OUR NEWS

    The establishment of the “Amvrakikos Alliance”

    The Alliance's vision in collaboration with the local community is to highlight the unique ecological value and the natural and cultural heritage of Amvrakikos, for the most effective management, restoration, and protection of its ecosystems and biodiversity.

    Read more
  14. OUR NEWS

    Kids Beach Competition 2023: Turtles made of natural materials that stole our hearts!

    The little friends of ARCHELON who participated in the Kids Beach Competition 2023 formed turtles from pebbles, sand, water, rocks, sticks, leaves and shells, spreading the message of protecting sea turtles on the various beaches of Greece. Angeliki's (7 years old) little turtle on top of the big rock stole 694 hearts and became the winner!

    Read more
  15. OUR NEWS

    The Field Leaders of 2023 and their role

    Matthew from the UK, Noha from France, David from the Netherlands, Aris from Greece started one summer as volunteers knowing little about turtles and their protection. Their experience made them return to the conservation projects as Field Leaders to take on more responsibilities, as trainers and mentors for new volunteers.

    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!