By Cohort 3 BGF-er,Will Lynes
I have just returned from a two week volunteering placement in Kefalonia (an island in the Ionian Sea, west of mainland Greece) doing turtle conservation. I had such an amazing time and didn’t want to leave. I stayed in a house with around 40 other volunteers with an outdoor kitchen and even a volleyball net in the garden. The accommodation was near a pool which we could use and many beaches.
One of the main activities was to get up at 5am and cycle to the local beaches including airport, Lassi and Avithos. We would walk the beaches looking for tracks and nests then do lots of measurements. If a nest was found, we protected it as well as relocate it if it was necessary. For example, if it is too close to tourist areas or if the sand moisture content was too high.
The other main activity was to walk Argostoli harbour and do surveys on the turtles and their interactions. Turtles in the harbour have been domesticated and are more aggressive towards each other due to them eating fish thrown into the water by fishermen; this is not part of their natural diet so is unhealthy for them.
Additional shifts included sand sifting, net checks and light pollution. I was even lucky enough to be involved in a tagging event where we removed turtles from the harbour, tagged them and looked for injuries. I also got to ride in a van with an injured turtle which has since been released.
While on my placement I was also involved in cliff jumping and water sports in my free time.