Sri Lanka 2017

Our May 2017 trip took us back to the lovely island of Sri Lanka that we first visited almost twenty years ago. We stayed in the Vivanta by Taj Hotel in the south west of the island near the town of Bentota. During our stay we took an overnight trip to the Yala National Park in the extreme south of the island.

We stopped firstly at a Turtle Rescue Centre where they hatch the eggs and  allow the young turtles to grow in safety  before releasing them back into the wild, greatly increasing their survival chances.

This was the area that was hit hardest by the Tsunami that struck on 26th December 2004, wiping out huge areas of the coastal infrastructure. 'The Sumudra Devi', a passenger train that ran down the coast from Colombo to Galle, was derailed and overturned by the tsunami. The Tsunami took at least 1,700 lives on the train, making it the largest single rail disaster in world history.

Estimates based on the state of the shore and a high-water mark on a nearby building place the tsunami almost thirty feet above normal sea level and some ten feet higher than the top of the train, totally engulfing it.The coastal lifestyle of the people and degradation of the natural environment in Sri Lanka contributed to the high death toll. In addition to the high number of fatalities, approximately 90,000 buildings were destroyed. We saw the new 'Tsunami Villages', basic relief habitation hurredly built with the money and resources donated at the time of the disaster from many countries throughout the world.

We took a cruise on the Madu River at Balapitiya, sailing through the Mangrove and stopped on Cinnamon Island to see how the spice is produced, and then stopped at a very colourfull Buddha Temple.

Enroute, we viewed various Tsunami Memorials, including one built by the Japanese. We visited a gem mine where Moonstone and other semi-precious stones were mined, and then passed through the town of Galle and visited the ancient fort. While driving down a dual carriageway just as darkness started to fall, a wild elephant charged accross both carriagways, just 100 metres in front of us, hitting a car in the process. There were various bits of debris, wing mirrors etc. flying from the car but both car and elephant kept going.

Our early morning safari, failed to reveal the elusive leopards, but we did see crocodiles, monkeys, wart hogs, a mongoose and a few elepants that shyly hid in the undergrowth. There were lots of deer, water buffalo, and birds drinking from the many waterholes.

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We visit all of these countries as travellers and make no political comment on the way they are governed.

Last Updated - Wednesday, 24th. May 2017 22:50:36