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Gerakas Beach

Listed under Beaches in Ionian Islands, Greece.

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This beach is great for both kids and sea turtles. Though it may not seem the idea' combination, there are many similarities between what makes a good beach for a child and what makes a good beach for a sea turtle. For starters gently shelving, warm clean waters that lap gently at the shore are a plus, as are shallow rolling dunes not too far back from the water. Neither kids or sea turtles appreciate a bar, which is lucky because there isn't one here – neither is there a restaurant or kiosk – though there is one not too far off which the parents of the kids may appreciate. The turtles are the ones ensuring there's no services nearby, but if you want to see them coming in to lay their eggs or hatching out you need to get up early (kids like that too) and visit between May and October – luckily there are school holidays then.

Written by  Jade Cabbot.

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“My top three beaches on Zakynthos”

At the south-east tip of the island, this beach is part of the Marine park of Zakynthos and is known for the Carretta Carretta turtles that nest there. No building is allowed above the beach and sun-loungers are kept well away from the nesting sites. If … Read more...

Written by  heather on her travels. Continue reading on heatheronhertravels

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The Earth Sea and Sky centre at Gerakas and the Carretta Carretta turtles

When I was at Gerakas beach recently I visited the Earth Sea and Sky centre dedicated to preserving the wildlife and the turtles on Zakynthos. I met the founder Yannis Vardakastanis who has won conservation awards for his work there to preserve the turtles.

He grew up in the area and his family owned land around the beach. As a child he remembers in July and August having the beach to himself with just the turtles. In the early 1980s when tourists came in greater numbers to the island he realised there would be a problem in the future and he made a decision to move away from running a beach bar and sunbeds to move into conservation.

Yannis founded the Earth Sea and Sky Centre ten years ago to inform visitors how to protect the wildlife in this area, especially the turtles. He also tackles issues such as climate change, the local resorts, the bush fires to educate visitors how to spend their holidays in harmony with nature and develop sustainable tourism.

The loggerhead sea turtles live in the Meditterranean and their greatest threat is from human activities such as fishing and speed boats. Yannis advised that if you go on a boat trip to see the turtles, you should make sure it doesn’t pollute the water by throwing sewage or litter into the water. They must respect the laws of the marine park; not be closer than 10m to the turtle, to slow down and not drive fast around them, and not chase them.

Yannis also runs a volunteer programme for thos who want to get more involved with his conservation work on Zakynthos

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