The best day of our holiday was the day we went to sea. We booked the excursion through the travel agent before we left. Zante is famous for it's loggerhead turtles, and although I knew the chance of us seeing any would be slim, I love being on boats, and it broke up our lazy days spent at the hotel. A coach picked us up at 8.45am from our hotel, and before 10am, we were on board our boat for the day. The journey out of the harbour was pretty choppy, but as soon as we began to get around the coast, it settled down. The wind was up, though, so I was thankful to Ash for packing our hoodies. Some others on the boat spotted a school of flying fish, but unfortunately we didn't see any. Our guide told us how the boat had been followed by 5 or 6 dolphins a few weeks before, so I was scanning the waves in the hope that we might get lucky too.
We zoomed around the coast, looking at the beautiful limestone and hidden caves as we went. We stopped off for a swim after a couple of hours - even I got in the water! I am much more of a pool person, mainly because fish near me freaks me out. (Those fish tank pedicures are my worst nightmare!) I bobbed about in the waves for a few minutes, until kids snorkelling around me starting saying "woooah look at all those fish!" So I promptly got back on the boat and into the bar... phew...
On our way back around the coast, our guide started talking to us about the real reason we were there - the turtles! I honestly wasn't expecting to see anything, probably because of a couple of dolphin trips I'd done when I was younger which just showed up jellyfish... but as we pulled around towards the main turtle beaches, our guide noticed that some of the other boats were watching something. We sped over.
As we arrived, it was obvious that there was something big floating in the water. Our guide could hear my camera going click click click as I was trying to get photos of the discovery, so he grabbed my hand, and helped me over the railings so I could stand over the bow.
And that's when I really saw him.
He was HUGE! About a metre long, and 70 or 80 years old. We watched him for around 20 minutes. He dived under the boats, splashed around on the surface, and was so graceful. It was lovely to see him in his natural habitat.
Everyone was on a bit of a high after the sighting, and because we still had time left before going back to harbour, there was another swim stop. I didn't get in again (ew, fish) but Ash did. Typically, there were no fish where we stopped this time... but I made use of myself, got us a couple of beers and waited for Ash with a towel when he came back in.
We then sped back to the harbour, ready to pick up our coach to the hotel. Without this trip, I don't think we would have enjoyed our holiday as much. It was so nice to get out of the hotel, on the water, and see a beautiful animal in it's natural habitat whilst learning so much about the species.
We booked our 'Turtle Island Cruise' excursion with First Choice, and it cost £31.99 each.