My name is Gabor and I came to Kefalonia with my girlfriend, Timea. We didn’t know what to expect, because we’ve never been in any volunteer camp before. But being passionate with the sea (including many beautiful sea turtles), Greece and travelling we decided to make this journey come true.
Now jump a big one in time and we arrive to our first night patrol. To tell the truth this was one of the most exciting nights and I was really waiting for it. Imagine a small village on a Greek island with pleasant weather and full moon, stars, a small old car in which there are 4 young people ready for the turtle mission. We were going out of the village, Katelios on a mountain road having the view of the beauty of the moon shined sparkling sea. And no, I wasn’t dreaming, everything was real. Now let me introduce the people in the car: Alejo and Saana two experienced volunteers, and Timea and me, the unexperienced volunteers. Before we departed I asked Saana, the Finnish girl when I was looking at our vehicle: “Is this the car?” She replied: “This is not a car. This is a car only when Alejo’s driving it.” Now you can imagine it. Before we arrived to the beach I have to tell you something about night patrol. Every night during the nesting season 4 volunteers go to the main nesting beach, Mounda, a 3 km long sandy beach which consists of 2 parts, Kaminia and Potamakia. The volunteers arrive to the middle of the beach and they separated there to two teams. One team takes the western part, Kaminia, the other team takes the eastern part, Potamakia. Both teams are looking for turtle tracks, nests or the female turtle herself. But now I don’t want to explain everything, Manuel, the coordinator will tell you when you get there. But one more thing. We have to walk along the shore for about 20 minutes until we get to the end and then have a 30 –minute – rest, walk back and take a rest again in the middle then walk again…etc. all night until 5.30am. But it is a beautiful activity, believe me. Have you ever dreamed about it? You have a night and you know that you won’t sleep because you can not do it when you are so impressed by the nature. Having all this beautiful environment, hearing the waves, looking at the stars then walking and hoping with a strong excitement that you will see a big sea turtle coming out of the water, such an amazing thing, you have never ever seen before. So back to the story. I went with Saana and Timea went with Alejo, the Spanish macho. One boy and one girl in each team. There must be a boy in a team in case there is a great, powerful and angry turtle attacking us. Well, I’m just kidding, but yes, a boy is needed to stop the turtle if she’s on her way back to the water. So in the middle of the beach we separated and started to walk away from each other. Timea was with a good looking and charming boy and I was with a beautiful, magical girl. At the end of the walk we were 3km from each other and had 30 minutes free time. A boy and a girl at both places surrounded by the romantic nature. If you are waiting for an exciting love story then I’m sorry, nothing to report. I was trying to enjoy the night as a once in a lifetime event and I did enjoy it very much. Not only the turtle watching but at the resting periods I had interesting talking with Saana about camps, turtles, loves and comparing the Hungarian and Finnish languages. Because these languages are distant relatives. There is an example for “water”. Hungarian: viz, Finnish: vesi. I tried to keep her awake but sometimes she got slept. Then I asked her: “How can you sleep? Don’t you think that this night is too beautiful to sleep?” She said: “It is beautiful, but I got used to it.” “What? How could you get used to it?” “You will see. I had many night patrols.” And she was right. You can get used to it, but not at first. The first time is unforgettable. When we got back to the middle Timea and Alejo weren’t there. But their way is a bit shorter than ours. Potamakia is shorter than Kaminia. We were there for 15-20 minutes and they still didn’t come back. I was thinking about what Saana told me, that Alejo loves girls very much. Oh my God, I told you this is not a love story, but maybe it is. Finally they came back at the end of our half an hour rest. Timea looked strange. I asked her what happened. She seemed to be shocked for something. “What happened?” – I asked. “I’m worrying. What happened?” – I asked again. “I saw a big turtle.” – she said.
I hope you like this story, but I can tell you this is one among many that we had in Kefalonia. And most importantly I have to mention how nice, wonderful and interesting people were there including all the campers, the coordinator Manu and the owner Katarina with her nice family and her Copperfield-looking husband Iorgos.