Residents of Artemis, the coastal suburb east of the international airport also known as Loutsa, were surprised late on Thursday night to watch a loggerhead sea turtle (caretta caretta) show up on the beach, dig a nest and leave after depositing her eggs and covering them with sand.
Locals isolated the nest to protect it and contacted "Archelon", the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece. Archelon is working with the municipality and the local port authorities to protect the nest and ensure there is access of the hatchlings to the sea when they emerge.
"There must be between 80 and 120 eggs in there, and the young turtles will emerge at night, in approximately two months," Archelon's volunteer and member Nikos Manias told Athens-Macedonian News Agency, adding that the sea turtle that lay them is probably around 30 years old. She may have returned, as her species often does, to her place of birth to lay eggs. "It's a case of sporadic egg laying, which is possible and found all over the Mediterranean. It's not usual, in that the sea turtles consistently lay eggs in the same place."
Caretta carettas are usually associated with Zakynthos, Crete and the Peloponnese, and this is the first incident recorded in Attica Region this year. Older Loutsa residents said they could remember the presence of sea turtles at two of the beach's more remote areas a long time ago, but the animals kept away as the population and the popularity of the coastal town grew.
Manias said that the port authority will be on alert because the spot is very popular and accessible to cars.