Besides the beautiful sandy beaches with the crystal clear deep waters and landscapes that will leave you breathless, there is another reason to visit Kefalonia, especially if you are a nature lover. And that reason is the fauna of the island and mostly its endangered species. One of the most interesting species is the Loggerhead sea turtle that wanders around the beaches of the island and the harbour of Argostoli.
The Loggerhead turtles (also known as Caretta-caretta) are the only marine turtles nesting in Greece and the Mediterranean. They can be distinguished from other turtles by their large heads, reddish-brown shells and yellow/brown skin, while they are considered to be one of the oldest species in the world. An adult Loggerhead grows to a length of 1.0-1.2 m, weights between 100-350 kg and can live for around 65 years.
Females appear to nest an average of three to five times in one breeding season, while the procedure of nesting occurs mainly at night throughout the summer, as they drag themselves out onto beaches beyond the high-tide mark and dig nests, into which around 100 eggs are laid. After approximately 60-70 days the eggs are hatched and the new born turtles emerge, mostly at night when risk from predators is lower. Then they are attracted by the light of the moon, and gravity, into the sea.
On the island of Kefalonia there are quite a few beaches where someone could spot both Loggerheads and nesting points. The island is one of the northernmost nesting sites of sea turtles in the world. The principal nesting site is below Ratzakli at Mounda Bay, between Skala and Katelios, whereas many others are spread throughout the beaches of the island, like Megali Ammos and Ammes beach at Minies, Makris Gialos at Lassi or Mega Lakos at Lixouri.
But if you actually want to see a live breathing adult Loggerhead turtle in Kefalonia you can go at the Koutavos Lagoon in Argostoli. You can locate them near the De Bosset Bridge and alongside the waterfront, where they sometimes follow the fish boats and swim around in search for food.
It is worth mentioning that there is another endangered species that can be located in Kefalonia, the Monk Seal (or also known as Monachus-Monachus). It is considered to be the most endangered animal in Europe and it inhabits mainly in the Mediterranean Sea.
It is an amazing even to get a glimpse of such creatures! However, it is also our responsibility as human beings to respect them and cater for their protection. Look for them and be surprised by them, but let them live peacefully and continue their journey.