So much of sea life- some amazing experiences

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Yet another bus trip up the coast and I arrive in Hikkaduwa. I have been told there is good diving and surfing at the beaches. I get accosted by a man telling me has a room for rent. It is cheap but very basic and I reason that I will be on the beach all day so am not too fussed. Head off to the beach and realise that my room is pretty crap compared with what I could get for a little more. Also find out that this is the main surfing beach and the diving spots are  at the other end of town. I go back to change my accommodation and guess what? He doesn't speak English anymore and wont give me a refund. He doesn't understand Afrikaans swear words either! So I will  stay one night here and move tomorrow. He has been the first bad man I have met during my time in Sri Lanka.

Hikkaduwa lies on either side of the main Galle to Colombo road. There are dive shops, hotels, restaurants and little shops on both sides and buses, trucks and cars  roar up and down the road at high speed. You take your life in your own hands when you try and cross the road. I have found a great place right on the beach close to the reefs. I literally walk from the restaurant down some stairs and I am on the beach. At high tide the waves wash up to the stairs and splash onto the deck. My room is on the first floor and has a little balcony opening onto the water. I wish I had found this place earlier. The guys who run the place are very cool and just sit around smoking joints. When I asked about hiring snorkeling equipment they just said I could use their kit. Very generous as everyone else is hassling you an the beach to rent masks and flippers at crazy prices.

When I get into the sea I cant believe how warm it is and also how clean it is. From the moment that you put on your mask and submerged I was surrounded by fish. Unfortunately the coral has been badly damaged. I am told a lot of damage is due to water temperatures increasing and the 2004 Tsunami also caused havoc. It also doesn't help that most other divers are ignorant shits also causing problems as most people seem oblivious to the damage they cause by climbing, sitting and standing on the reefs. I wish I had an underwater camera because they amount and variety of fish was incredible. The water is crystal clear with visibility of at least 20 meters and it is no deeper then 3 meters so it is ideal for snorkeling. At one stage I felt that something was watching me and when I turned around there was a school of fish of at least 1000 all about 30 cm long just behind me. I swam in among them and was completely surrounded. They just slowly circled about me. Your mind does flip and you have weird thoughts about Piranhas! One fish darted out and bit me on my finger drawing blood and then I realised that it was attracted to my ring. Huge parrot fish of about 80 cm glided about down to brightly coloured little coral fish in the rocks. I just hung suspended in the water watching the sea life. Wrasse at cleaner stations, fish digging holes in the sand. 

To me it is the same as going to a game reserve. You don't have to rush around like most snorkelers but just stay in one spot for a while and see what happens. You notice camouflaged fish that suddenly move. Big fish chasing little fish. Each time I moved around the reef I was amazed by something. After lunch I spent more time in the water and it was much of the same. At about 6 pm I took a walk along the beach and was privileged to see some newly hatched baby turtles waddling into the sea. By the number of tracks in the sand I had missed most of them but managed to see the last few stragglers make it to freedom. only very few of these will survive. Something really special to see.

1 April

Before breakfast went for a swim on the west side of the bay but the visibility was not too good. Did see some very large Parrot fish. After about 40 minutes head to the other side where again conditions were nearly perfect. It has been about 20 years since I dived in the Red Sea and maybe my mind forgets things but the variety of fish is fantastic. The highlight of this dive was coming across a large turtle of about 1.5 meters across the shell. It cruised past me and I spent a few minutes watching feed on some seaweed. It then swam up to me and nudged me with its flipper. It was right in front of me and I reached out and touched its shell and held its leathery flipper. I swam next to this majestic, graceful creature until all of a sudden we were surrounded by other snorkelers. Pushing and shoving each other and me to try and get closer. They were stirring up the sand and eventually cornered it against the reef. They couldn't even realise that they were stressing the poor thing out. Eventually they got bored and left it alone and I watched it swim away. What an amazing experience.

Back for a great Roti breakfast. There is a little place called the 'No 1 Roti House' . Any filling you want from curry, to bacon, cheese and tomato to sweet fillings like banana and chocolate. Cost about R6 each. My favorite place at the moment. Rested for a while and then back into the water for more snorkeling. Even in the shallows where people are just standing cooling off there is an abundance of small and large fish. I am sure if these people put on a mask they would be surprised as to what is swimming around them. After a great swim again and spending some time on the internet I came across a little street stall selling braaied meat. Freshly cooked chicken and pork chops. With some great spices and sauce and for two pieces and salad it was only R5. My new best place.

2 April

Much the same as yesterday and the highlight of the dive was seeing a large Moray Eel swimming around until it found refuge in a rock. Just as I was about to leave the water, I was standing waist deep in water when a turtle came gliding past me. By the time I put more mask back on it had disappeared. Was amazed at how fast it could swim. Second highlight was when I was walking back from the braai man, I acme across two guys arguing. Without warning the older swing a very innocuous punch but it must have landed perfectly because the younger just collapsed and it was a bit 10 minutes before he woke up. Everyone just left him lying on the pavement and went on they way. Sadly this is my last day in Sri Lanka as my 30 day visa expires in two days time

 
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Comments

Lu on

Sounds amazing - seems to be a well kept secret! The views are stunning! Enjoy Singapore!

Roach and Dave on

Greeeeeeen with envy the snorkeling sounds fantastic. Typical that some idiots mess it all up.! We are so enjoying your posts.

simon storey on

This is the spot.

will get there.

you lucky bugger.

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