On some clear sunny days, when the light is exceptionally bright and the shapes around reflect vivid colours, a certain energy, pushed by my strong desire, fills the air in those peculiar meteorological states.
This energy comes from Katelios, a place that I was lucky to know!
From the moment I get off in Sami I can feel the childish emotion, as though I landed on neverland, so flourishing the vegetation is, in contrast with the blue scale around. This lets the imagination roam free. Sometimes you are even possessed by the feeling that here at least all this nature can live in peace with human development, which is very present anyway.
Anyone who has spent weeks, or months here (as I chose to do), must have fallen in love with the island, and love, as they say, makes you blind and hides bad traits.
So you don’t want to remember the many hotels under construction, or those forgotten archeological sites where, rumor has it, soon they will build new restaurants or who-knows-what, to replace that ‘old stuff’ in the name of progress and quick money.
Even the street of the restaurants will stay with you, as the lively village centre, where you can chat looking at the moon which here, and it’s not commonplace, is in nothing similar to the one I can see from my window at home.
It’s the little details that make the experience in Katelios memorable. Like on the night patrols, when you rest while waiting to spot a turtle, you lie down on the beach, you look up and you feel complete and satisfied, and each star you can see is like an unforgettable instant of this life that you share with other people to whom you feel so close. And that’s what you will take with you, the relations with other people and the hard times you shared.
The purpose is not simply to save the turtles (which is anyway a highly demanding project, that needs efforts in many directions: an alternative form of tourism, with alternative forms of accommodation), but to discover how much life populates the island: so many birds, butterflies, peculiar flowers, endangered plants, rivers, the bottom of the sea. Caretta caretta is only the famous iceberg tip, but the whole iceberg must be discovered and protected with the same vivid decision.
It’s the human – nature relationship that needs to be reconsidered. But the grain of sand that each volunteer brought in those months is already a great contribution. Possibly equal to one more turtle on earth, or a tourist more aware, or who knows maybe even a hotel owner more sensible in his business.
Everything can change, if you believe it.