Mounda beach is not the only turtle nesting beach of Kefalonia. All the sandy beaches of the island, especially in the South, are potential or proven turtle nesting beaches. This is a brief assessment based on surveys from the last few years.
Skala village is one of the biggest tourist resorts in Kefalonia. It hosts thousands of visitors every summer, mostly holiday package English tourists. The beach has fine sand and is fairly long. Most of it is covered by sun beds and umbrellas. There is a road at the back of the beach, with many restaurants and hotels, and even more under construction. There is also another part of the beach, between Skala and Mounda point. This is more narrow, the sand is not as fine, but it is practically undeveloped. It is mostly backed by steep cliffs and has no sun beds or umbrellas yet. In the last few years they have started building new villas and houses on top of the cliff, some by the edge (no joke!).
Historical records show that in the mid 80s Skala beach used to have 5-10 turtle nests per season. In 2006 we recorded 2 nests here (one not verified), plus various other nesting attempts, some clearly obstacled by beach furniture (see picture right).
This small beach has long been known to locals as a turtle nesting beach. It is possibly the highest density nesting beach of the island, because of its small size. It is not easily accessible, only a very bad rocky road goes down. But it has been promoted lately. The results are a small kiosk with generator (2006 addition), sun beds and umbrellas, road signs pointing to it, and unusual crowds in the summer. It has a big problem with erosion. A lot of clay washes down from the back cliffs after every rain, covering half of the beach with a thick layer. This is possibly dangerous for nests if they are covered during incubation. Also, there are some locally known cases of similar beaches that disappeared after a total collapse of the back cliff.
In 2006 we recorded at least 6 nests here, plus a few more nesting attempts.
This beach does not have a driveable road to go down, and can only be reached by sea. There is no permanent human sign on the beach. Being so quiet it attracts many turtles, although the sand is not ideal for nesting. So much so that the number of aborted nesting attempts is always high here.
In 2006 we didn't find any nest here, despite the great number of nesting attempts (at least 18!), but surveying effort wasn't always consistent. In 2005 turtles were more lucky or more able however, and we recorded at least 9 nests on this beach, proving it an important nesting site of the island.
Sisia is more famous for the old and the new monastery. A very bad road goes down to the beach, where the only sign of development is a small utility building. The beach is medium size in length, with very coarse sand and a shallow hard layer that don't make it very suitable for turtle nesting. It is surrounded by many other beaches of various sizes, some good and some not so good for nesting.
Turtles always come to Sisia and try to nest, but in 2006 we couldn't find any nest among the various nesting attempts, although again surveying effort wasn't always consistent. We did find one nest in the beach right next to Sisia to the West, though.
Lourdas has been developed into a tourist resort a long time ago. The story goes that it became so ugly, that even tourist companies cut their contracts and abandoned the hotels there. Today a wall and a road right behind the beach made it so narrow that it is very unlikely for turtles to nest here, except in very rare cases (maybe at low tide).
The present doesn't look very good, but it looks like the past could have been turtle heaven here. And there are still sparse reports of nesting attempts. We haven't been able to check on them so far, because of its distance from our base, but we are considering the option. We would also like to investigate more consistently the presence of turtle nests in all the sandy beaches further West towards Argostoli. We know of turtle nests here, but we need to find the means to reach these beaches.
The area around Lixouri (Pali peninsula) has a few potential nesting beaches, mostly south of Lixouri and in the southern coast of the peninsula. Xi and Megas Lakkos are locally known as turtle nesting beaches. But recent development might have been discouraging turtles from coming here.
Only 5 years ago a quick survey at mid season indicated 10-20 nests on these beaches. In summer 2006 we found only 3 nests after a complete and consistent survey. Even worse, they built a huge hotel just south of Lixouri that is undoubtedly going to have a huge impact on the local environment.