Mounda beach is the main nesting site for Loggerhead sea turtles in Kefalonia. One of the reasons for this is its relative low level of tourism development. However, in recent years 3 new hotels have appeared on the beach, together with a small bar and many sun beds and umbrellas. We must stress that Mounda beach and the whole bay is a NATURA 2000 Special Area of Conservation because of the Loggerhead sea turtle Caretta caretta (thanks to the Katelios Group and all the people who supported our petitions).
Hotels pose a problem to sea turtles for many reasons. Hotel lights and noise are a well studied problem for sea turtles. Nesting turtles are scared away by bright lights, and hatchlings are disorientated. They take hotel lights for sea reflected starlight! This leads them in the wrong direction (see picture right). Hatchlings dry up and die very quickly in the hot daylight, that's why they emerge from nests at night. It might be too late for them before they realize they took the wrong way.
Sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach at night can become obstacles that send turtles back to the sea without nesting. In fact it is quite frequent to find tracks of turtles who have stumbled on a sunbed and have turned back. If the turtle doesn't have a chance to try to nest again in a following night, it will dump all the precious eggs in the sea and an entire nest will be lost.
There are simple solutions to at least alleviate these problems. One is to screen lights facing the beach, or even better to completely turn those lights off at night. Screens could be used also against noise. Collaboration by the hotels in Mounda is not always perfect. Some hotels cooperate and have reduced their lights accordingly, but some parts of the beach are still very bright and noisy.
Sun beds are another question. Although they are required to be taken off the beach at night from local regulations, this is never enforced. Looking for a compromise, we ask sun bed owners to stack them in piles or put them up at least. Even this must be too big an effort for most (but not all) of them, because turtles still find many sunbeds down on their way (see picture right).