As a volunteer who stayed on the project for a month, I was present to witness a whole new group of volunteers arrive at camp Saturday. I met the twelve new volunteers who were all girls; we chit-chatted about our countries, and love of waking up at the crack of dawn. One of the perks of having an all-girl camp (and Neil!), is that we came-up with the idea to have a yoga session on our towels. Taylor, an enthusiastic elementary school teacher from Virginia, lead the group into various yogi positions and meditation until we were called for supper. One of the drawbacks of having so many campers is the fight for hammock time.
Athina, who is in charge of public relations for Archelon, set-up turtle protection information booths around Lakonikos Bay where events were being held. Volunteers accompanied Athena to a ski-doo show going on in Gythio, and to a soccer game being held on a beach.
Mr Richard bathing in an ice cold waterfall in the mountains near Sparti.
One volunteer, Mr. Richard, from Luxembourg via New Zealand and France, took it upon himself to explore beaches far beyond the normal ones covered by the camp volunteers. One evening as the air and sand had cooled a bit, I and a few other volunteers, headed to a far-away beach where Richard had spotted a nest (presently, Neil has just received an email that Mr. Richard has even found nests while holiday ing on the Greek island of Kos!) After digging for what seemed like hours, we thought there were surely no eggs. Nevertheless, Richard found them tucked in the extremities of the nest camouflage. We then headed over to the local taverna for a celebratory drink as the sun fell, and listened to a remix of The Door’s “L.A Woman” on the drive back to camp through Greece’s beautiful mountains.
On the weekly taverna night, the group goes-out to eat a pre-paid feast, the campers headed to Mavrovouni to fill-up on a huge amount of fried zucchini and fried cheese, as well as potatoes and other Greek meals I wouldn’t know what to call; but they’re great. After one volunteer ate a good five servings of everything (me), we enjoyed a nice walk back to camp via the beach (though we stayed well away from turtle-nesting grounds).
One morning after having found a potential nest on the beach, we were in the middle of breakfast when we decided it would be a good idea to draw moustaches on everyone and top this off with some sombreros. As we still had work to do, we headed to the beach adorned in marker and sombrero to dig the nest and install a grid over it. We then ventured into the water and amused ourselves taking under-water pictures in our costuming, much to the amusement of other beach-goes.
Sombrero digging fiesta.
The best night, for this volunteer, was the last night on the project. I had joined the neighbour’s band given my passion for playing guitar and classic rock. The band had been scheduled to perform at Spider’s Pub, which is a great place if you’re into good music. And played we did! The band was quickly named “The Lazy Guys of a Fruitful Valley” and we played covers of songs like Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”, the Subway’s “Rock and Roll Queen,” as well as some Greek rock songs which I rather enjoyed. After the first set, around 2:30 am, the performance turned into more of a jam session.
Mia and Vassilis after rockin spiders pub.
I was able to jam with the band to some blues, and other musicians who had come out that night began playing as well. Taylor, Neil, Juliana, myself, and a bunch of great local people I’d met over the month, danced until it was morning survey time. Unfortunately, we ran out of gas on our ride back. We then had to walk to Vathi, the nearest beach, for a swim and snooze, (and morning survey for Neil) until the petrol stations were to open for the day. Man, what a night! What an adventure the last month was!