Waking up in the middle of the night or not going to bed until 2 am was totally worth it to see a mother turtle lay her legs or find and protect their nests. We observed from just inches away as these giant turtles laid up to 100 or more eggs, and then take the time to carefully cover and camouflage her eggs to protect them from predators.
This is her only chance of acting as a mother to these tiny creatures before retreating back to the sea and wishing the best for her babies. I was lucky enough to see this during my first night patrol on the first night, and it is a moment I will never forget.
One of our jobs during night patrol is make sure conditions on the beach are ideal for the mothers to safety come ashore and then return safely without any disruptions. On my last night patrol we were with a turtle when we heard several loud sounds that could have been gun shots or fireworks. Usually these sounds would scare off a turtle and she would head right back to the water, but not this one. This turtle persevered through the terrifying sounds to create her nest and lay her eggs! This was truly inspiring to see!
Although I was very saddened to observe the real awful dangers these sea turtles face due to humans, I am grateful for my new awareness of these dangers and that I was able to make a visible difference during my short two week stay and volunteering at the Under 18 Sea Turtle Conservation project in Greece. Our team of 18 along with our Archelon partners managed to find and protect dozens of vulnerable Loggerhead sea turtle nests with the hope that maybe a couple of these thousands of hatchlings will survive and return to this same beach to nest themselves!