Releasing a Baby Sea Turtle on Kuta Beach, Bali

We arrived in Bali late on Sunday night and pretty much since landing, I’ve had Facebook notifications turned on for the Bali Sea Turtle Society releases. I’ve also had Mount Arung eruption updates on but that’s a whole other story…

The society allows visitors to assist with the release of baby turtles into the sea. Hatching season is from April to October each year. Once a nest hatches, the society release the hatchlings into their natural habitat the very next day so that the turtles have plenty of energy to get home.

Turtle Nests Rescued

The details of each nest that has hatched and been released this year.

BSTS posts an announcement on Facebook if a release is happening that day. Lucky for us, I received a notification on our first full day in Bali that a release was happening!

You’re told to arrive by 4pm to collect a token (one per person) which you will exchange for a baby turtle just before the release at 4:30. Unfortunately, we’d only been in Bali around 12 hours and had no idea how horrific the traffic was! It reminded me of the traffic in Sri Lanka. The tourist areas of Seminyak and Kuta are so congested, mainly due to only a few roads supporting hundreds of tourist hotels and restaurants. We set off at 3:15pm to get there for 3:45, or so we thought.. we actually got there at 4:29 and had to run to join the back of the turtle queue. Luckily for us, the hatch we were releasing had produced hundreds of turtles, so there were actually more turtles than there were tokens.

Everyone was given a little plastic box to house their turtle, and some water, in for the short walk to the beach.

Baby Leatherback Turtle

We helped to release a batch of leatherback turtles, one of the seven species that can be found in the waters of Indonesia. My turtle was really keen and kept climbing over the edge of the box. You’re not allowed to touch the turtles but I had to keep escorting him back inside so he didn’t fall straight to the sand!

Once we were in place (about 40 feet back from the water) we all lined up and crouched down, ready to release! An instructor from the society counted down so that we all tipped our turtles on to the sand at the same time.

Baby Turtle Conservation

It was lovely to see hundreds of the babies all flapping their way towards the sea at the same time. We were all instructed to stay behind the release line until the turtles had been swept in by the tide. After only about 5 minutes the majority were in the sea (including mine) and on to their adventures. There were a few stragglers however, some people were told to go and pick their turtles up and place them in the shallow sea for a helping hand.

I couldn’t believe how many people, and turtles, were involved in the release! There have been four releases this week (aka whilst we’ve been here) so there must be a lot of hatching going on right now.

The release is a free event but you can give a donation if you’d like to; BSTS also sell some merchandise to fundraise. I bought a cute little turtle bracelet for 10,000 IR (50p) and we donated around 50,000 too.

Turtle Charm Bracelet

BSTS help endangered turtles in lots of different ways. They rescue and release turtles that have been traded or stranded, relocate nests to a protected environment to hatch (away from high tides, tourists and dogs), and educate local people about how to protect turtles.

I made a short (and fairly rubbish – lesson no.1 point your camera landscape!!) video of our experience here:

If you’re going to Bali and fancy some further information, here’s BSTS’s website and Facebook page. Happy hatching!

xxx

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Turtle Pinterest

4 Comments

  1. Reply

    Sheree Strange

    September 30, 2017

    Oh my god! This sounds AMAZING! Unfortunately, being Australian, the only tourist experiences we tend to have or hear about in Bali are getting drunk and partying on the beach. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t know about this when I was there! I love turtles and I’m on a bit of a kick with ocean conservation at the moment, so this is right up my alley. Thank you so much for sharing – this is definitely top of my list for next time.

    • Reply

      jenhorsfall

      October 1, 2017

      Ah yes we didn’t realise how many Aussies come here for their holidays! Makes sense with how close it is to you guys though. What conservation activities are there to do in Aus? We’re on the East Coast December onwards!

  2. Reply

    Sarah Shumate

    September 30, 2017

    Oh my goodness, what a cool experience! Your baby seat turtle is just the cutest little thing! I would love to do this, too. I’m headed to Bali with a friend the last week of October. Will the turtle releases still be going on at that point? We are also watching the news about Mount Agung – scary stuff! I’m hoping we don’t have to cancel our trip!

    • Reply

      jenhorsfall

      October 1, 2017

      I think so if you’re lucky.. they do say the hatching season runs to the end of October. If you turn the Facebook notifications on for their page you won’t miss one if so 🙂 yes we’re really hoping the volcano holds out until at least Friday which is when we fly to Singapore. Or that the ash clouds don’t affect flights/much of the local area.

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