We visited the Turtle Conservation Center in Serangan, Bali over the weekend. The center cares for adult turtles who have been injured and runs a hatchery to protect vulnerable turtle eggs and young turtles before releasing them into the sea.
The tour of the center is free, but they accept donations, including through an “adopt a turtle” program. We kind of just assumed that when we handed over our 150,000 rupiah (about 10 USD), we’d be given a handshake, or maybe some sort of certificate of adoption. Instead, our guide asked Brian to complete a form that included a space for our turtle’s name. Theo picked “Tio”, which is how most people on our trip pronounce his name.
So, we got a certificate of adoption with a turtle’s name on it. That’s probably at least 10% cooler than just getting a generic certificate.
Then our guide instructed Brian to scoop one of the baby turtles into a bucket. Apparently, when you adopt a turtle here, you adopt a specific turtle. Carrying around a baby turtle was neat, but I have to admit that we still made jokes about how, at the end, we’d put Tio back in the tank to eventually be scooped up by other tourists and renamed.
However, we were wrong. (We are often wrong.) Apparently, when you adopt a baby turtle here, you don’t just give that turtle a name, but you also actually put that turtle into the ocean. This is at least 1000% cooler than just a certificate.
We drove to the nearby beach and nudged Tio towards the water. It took a few waves, but he eventually began furiously paddling toward the open ocean, where we watched him swim, swim, swim, pop-above-the-water, swim, swim, swim, pop-above-the-water for several minutes before human Theo’s patience ran out and we departed.