Rethymno Beach has once again become a vital area for the endangered sea turtle, Caretta-Caretta, as the annual nesting season unfolds. Each year, from May through August, the beach plays host to the egg-laying by these magnificent creatures. Safeguarding these nests are dedicated local and international volunteers from the ARCHELON organization, with support from the Municipality of Rethymno.
As this year's nesting season gets into full swing, the much-anticipated excavations have recently got going. These excavations, a crucial part of the conservation effort, serve to assess the outcomes of each nest. Visitors and volunteers alike are often treated to an extraordinary sight: the successful emergence of tiny baby Carretta-Caretta hatchlings making their break for the ocean, a symbol of hope for these endangered species. In some cases, volunteers encounter tardy hatchlings that are carefully guided to freedom and gently steered toward the water.
The timing of the nest openings is calculated, ensuring that all the baby sea turtles within have had sufficient time to incubate.
This allows ARCHELON to exact record the success rate of incubation, shedding light on the number of hatchlings that successfully reach the water and identifying any instances where incubation has not occurred, along with the reasons behind it.
Within the confines of a nest excavation, a fascinating array of remains is detected, including shell fragments, unhatched eggs, and both live and deceased hatchlings that did not manage to escape their sandy enclosure.
ARCHELON's volunteers undertake these meticulous excavations once the hatchlings have completed their journey out of the nests. Their efforts are rewarded with the discovery and documentation of critical findings, such as unhatched eggs, hatched shells, cracked eggs, and hatchlings that are stranded within the nest.
Participating in these events is nothing short of exhilarating, witnessing the determination of these little creatures as they wiggle their way across the beach to the embrace of the sea. It's a testimonial to the marvels of the natural world.