One hundred and five reasons to tread carefully in Bali are flapping about adorably in plastic tubs filled with seawater. After a two-year respite from tourists, Kuta Beach is looking a treat. The sea is clean, and the sand looks as freshly laid as the baby sea turtles we’re about to release.

Volunteers from Kuta Beach Sea Turtle Conservation have hatched this brood of baby Olive ­Ridley sea turtles from eggs gathered further down the beach. Without intervention, few of these hatchlings would survive the crossing of the beach to the sea. Coastal pollution, nesting site destruction and the conversion of turtle habitat into places of tourism are the leading causes of sea turtles’ crash in numbers over the last decades. For the turtles, the pandemic was the best news in years.

So there’s a troubling incongruity in being here as a tourist, and helping these turtles get the best start in life. But the passionate volunteers make us believers. We’re each given a baby turtle in a container and advised not to give them names, lest we get too attached. On the call of I Gusti Ngurah Tresna, the man known as “Mr Turtle”, we tip our tiny reptiles onto the sand, where they start inching instinctively towards the sea, flippers ticking over like a feeble wind-up toy. Every so often a wave washes them back and Mr Turtle shouts “Don’t move!” as they flail in the foamy water at our feet. Eventually they’re carried out to sea, and the moment feels ceremonial. New life is beginning in Bali, and we’re a part of it in every way…

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