Iztuzu Beach (Turtle Beach)
Close to Dalyan lies the magnificant 5 km long sandbar that juts out from the mainland into the Mediterranean.
You can reach either end of the beach by Boat or Bus………….Both ways are excellent.
The Public Boat will take approximately 40 minutes, and the boat winds its way down the channel, past the Rock Tombs and Caunos, and through the rustling reeds to the open tip of the beach. This is a wonderful boat trip, and should not be missed during your stay in Dalyan !!
The Bus (dolmus) travels lakeside through beautiful winding roads down to the Beach. This takes around 20 minutes, and at this end of the beach is the Turtle Rescue Centre, established in 2009 largely through the influence of June Haimoff (Kaptan June) whose reconstructed baraka (beach hut) now serves as a small museum to her life and work. Here you can view the Turtles currently being cared for, and treated, ready for release back into the wild ! This site was earmarked for development until it was brought to the authorities attention that it was one of the last nesting grounds for the endangered Loggerhead Turtle.
If you like Walking, try this……. travel by bus to one end, and walk the beach (maybe stopping halfway for a swim)…….then return to Dalyan centre on the boat ? Sunbeds and shade are available at both ends of Turtle Beach for a very small charge, and cold drinks / snacks are served throughout the day.
A campaign with David Bellamy and a local woman Kaptan June (Haimhoff) were successful in stopping the development of Iztuzu Beach. Visiting times to the beach are restricted from May – September when the Turtles are nesting. From 08.00-20.00 are the open times so as not to interfere with the nesting habits of these Turtles. This beach is one of the few remaining locations in the Mediterranean sea that has the right conditions for the Giant Loggerhead Turtle (Caretta Caretta) to reproduce. The Giant Loggerhead Turtles have used this beach as a laying ground since time immemorial, especially in June. The females lay their eggs by night in the soft sand, in clutches of about 100. Since the early 90’s the beach is closed to the public from 8 pm to 8 am to protect them. The beach is open during the day but swimmers and sunbathers are asked to exercise special care.
Caretta Caretta Turtles
The Caretta Caretta turtle is listed as threatened on the Federal Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species List. These turtles with their large heads(the name Loggerhead comes from the fact that they have oversized heads), and reddish brown shells come to Iztuzu Beach to nest from May to September. Thay have yellowish to white undersides and can measure up to 3-4 feet in lenght. The turtle reaches maturity around 15 years of age, they can weigh between 150 and 300 pounds.
Since 1986 Turkey has taken steps towards the conservation of wildlife. Today there are 385,000 hectares of protected land in Turkey, 38,500 of which are in Dalyan. Within part of this area is the protected beach where the Loggerhead Turtle, (scientific name Carretta Carretta) come to nest. The Loggerhead Turtle is designated as threatened on the Federal Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species List. These Turtles are air-breathing Reptiles, which have a special gland that allows them to drink seawater. The waters in which they live are sub tropical with temperatures between 16 -20 degrees centigrade, usually in bays, estuaries, lagoons or the mouths of large rivers. In temperatures lower than this they become stunned and drift helplessly. Their diet consists mainly of Jellyfish, Molluscs and Crustaceans. The mating takes place a few weeks before the female lays her eggs. The Loggerhead Turtle usually returns to the beach where they themselves hatched. The sperm collected during mating will fertilise all of her clutches. The adult female may lay several clutches each season, usually she will lay eggs every two -three years, although some have been known to lay eggs every year. When the female lays her eggs, she seems to look like she is crying; she is in fact flushing out sand and excess salt from her eyes. (The salt is from the gland that enables her to drink seawater).