Sea-turtles, sand-dunes, shipwreck and sunbathing

Sunday 28 July 2013

Summer weekends are crazy in Greece. We have discovered the best thing for us to do on a weekend is find somewhere to 'sit-it-out' while it all goes on around us then move on out on the Monday. 

Calm before the storm...
The towns become gridlocked. Car parks fill up. Beaches heave with families all having a great day out. The partying begins. Last night and into this morning a wedding function in the nearby restaurant and a beach party on the sand were in competition as to who could last it out the longest. The music booming out from the restaurant speakers stopped at 7am but the beach party crowd were still packing away at 9am!

Last to leave with tables, chairs....and a huge hangover!

So here we are still on shipwreck beach - or to give it it's proper name Valtiki beach which is about 4 miles east of Gytheio at the northern part of Lakonikos Bay.

We love it here - it has everything we need. A big car park with shade, a safe place to BBQ, free wi-fi at the beachside bar/restaurant, a clean sandy beach, a lovely place to swim and a huge hulk of a rusty ship that changes colour chameleon-like during the day. One morning I was up at sunrise and a couple of nights ago we were still out in the inky darkness transfixed by the milky way and shooting stars in the sky as we gazed up over its rusty bow. The fridge is full of cool drinks and the cupboards full of food - we're staying put!

Beach starting to fill up

This whole area which includes the beach, extensive sand-dune system and the delta of the River Evrotas is an important natural habitat. The river bed is all but dry at the moment as 7000 wells and numerous irrigation systems extract the water all along its 50 mile course for the local population and citrus fruit plantations. As well as being a stretch of coastline known for its sea-turtles breeding, it is one of the few remaining wetland areas in Southern Greece and is home to some rare and endangered plant species.

River Evrotas dry river bed

Dotted along the beach are a handful of protected sea turtle nesting areas, competing for space with the dedicated sun worshippers. The locals seem to be aware of the fragile balance here and on the whole there is less littering than we have seen elsewhere. 

The poor hulk of a ship hasn't escaped the graffiti 'artists' though and like every other surface in Greece within arms length has been defaced with names and pictures.

Tomorrow we will pack up and move on along towards the Mani Peninsula then up towards Kalamata - where Dave is hoping to stuff every available space in the van with its world famous olives!


  1. Looks and sounds wonderful. And Kalamata next...oh boy, if I could say how much I love kalamata olives, my husband might leave me....Axxx

    1. Dave liked the Amfissa olives - not got any Kalamata ones yet but there are olive trees as far as the eye can see here.