Nesting female marine turtles arrived at La Escobilla beach on Mexico's Oaxaca Pacific coast, in their annual migration, a sign that life is about to burst forth from scorched grains of sand.
Every year from the start of August to the end of September, these tiny black baby reptiles haul themselves to the sand's surface and painstakingly crawl to the sea.
Small enough at birth to fit into a child's palm, females will hit land again as adults in 25 to 30 years time, thanks to a genetic homing device that makes them return to the beach where they hatched so as to carry on the reproductive process. Males will never return.
It's a natural spectacle and local families have taught their children to protect the marine turtles.
"I'm looking after them. So that they (poachers) don't come and steal their eggs, kill them. So that dogs, black vultures don't kill them," said Benito Cortes.
The turtles arrive along 15 kilometers of protected coastline.
Members of the Olive ridley turtle Sanctuary Cooperative on La Escobilla beach, in the town of Santa Maria Tonameca, battle for turtle conservation in the Pacific Ocean. Populations of several species of Gulf Coast turtles have collapsed, hunted to the brink of extinction.
"We hope to receive some 150,000 nestings which means 15 million eggs. Of those, not all will make it. In arrival beaches it's common the percentages of survival are low due to the number of eggs being laid," said Erika Peralta, who is in charge of the sanctuary.
For several years, Peralta and dozens of volunteers have worked to protect the beach and the region's ecotourism. Many are repentant fishermen who used to hunt turtles prized for turtle soup and their meat.
According to biologists from the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) this number of eggs does not remove the species from the threat of extinction because only 10 percent of the 15 million eggs will hatch in 45 days.
This beach sees between seven and eight arrivals per year of marine turtles to nest. This third season this year is the largest.
There are 12 beaches where Olive ridley turtles nest around the world, according to the CONANP. The most important one is this one, due to the number of nestings.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), marine turtles have been around for over 100 million years.
Natural predators have been around for thousands of years but it is the impact of humans which is affecting their numbers, either through hunting or via entanglement in fishing nets.
Olive ridley turtles have slightly up-turned shell edges and can weigh up to 45 kilograms. The species has to recover from centuries of over-exploitation. In the 1960s, over one million Olive ridley turtles were butchered each year for their meat and skin on Mexico's Pacific coast. The species is classified as endangered together with five others out of seven marine turtle species, the WWF says.
Conservation efforts such as this one has seen turtle populations recover in some areas but without urgent global action the future of these magnificent creatures still looks grim.