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Watch baby turtles march into a Mexico sunset

Every fall and winter, volunteers help hatchlings on a beach in the town of Todos Santos, Mexico. Visitors can join. Christopher Reynolds of the Los Angeles Times joined a release in mid-October.

And now, one more reason to think about a trip to southern Baja California: Three species of embattled sea turtles lay eggs on the area’s beaches. As this video shows, if you head to the town of Todos Santos, you might get a chance to see tiny hatchlings scramble into the sea.

Todos Santos is on the Baja peninsula’s Pacific coast, about 70 miles northwest of Los Cabos International Airport.

In fall and winter, the charity Grupo Tortuguero collects and incubates eggs in Todos Santos. Most evenings at sunset from early December through late February, volunteer leader Enedino Castillo, his son Dario, and their comrades set free hatchling sea turtles and invite visitors to watch from a few feet away and perhaps contribute to the cause.

I happened to catch one release in mid-October. I arrived to find volunteers filling a blue bin full of creeping, twitching Oreos.

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They were hatchling olive ridley sea turtles, which are an endangered species on Mexico’s west coast. At water’s edge, volunteers released the hatchlings from the bin and watched as they lurched toward the surf — a stirring sight.

Most will die young, Dario Castillo told me, but the hardiest will live decades (nobody is sure exactly how long) and grow to 100 pounds. The hatchling releases happen about 5 p.m. (around sunset) at Las Playitas (the beach at the foot of Camino Internacional).


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