For the first leg of our journey, the crew had prepared some coconuts and snacks for us, so that we could sit and get to know each other on our two hour journey from Malé to “Bodu Veli”, the first of many sand bank islands we would visit on our trip.
When getting there we jumped straight into the water, and were surprised to see that everything was just as beautiful underwater as it was above. When swimming in deep waters, the blue color was just so consistent all around us and the water so “unpolluted” by algea an other organic micro things that otherwise would have made their water more unclear.
Like most of the other sand banks visited on the trip we had them all to ourselves and with delicious food taken care of by our chef, VJ, we could spend the whole day snorkelling around coral reefs, relaxing on the beach or doing “wake surfing”- wakeboarding with a regular surfboard dragged by the “Dinghy”.
As we arrived Malé Airport late in the evening, we had arranged a night hotel at the airport island hulhumale, which surprisingly is on a different island than Malé city (about 7 mins apart with speedboat).
Just on the very short ride to our hotel, we had to cross two airplane runaways. On the first one we had to stop and wait for a green light after the Turkish Airlines flight had landed and for the second one there was just a sign saying that we should beware as the seaplanes were taking off to go to the resort islands. It was fascinating to see and learn how the small island nation handled their logistics, consisting of over a thousand island, some with resorts that required catering for the most picky western needs.
When getting to the airport the next morning we got to see how beautiful everything was in daylight. Just a few steps outside the airport the waters were turquise green, a color that I usually just see on post card photos, and now we were there ourselves. The sun was strikkng hot, being just three degrees North of the Equator, and both water and air stayed warm throughout day and evening. I feel like we will have some nice days ahead, being a week on board the G Adventures Dhoni Cruise that will take us around the atolls.
Our stay here in Sri Lanka has been all about one thing, namely surfing. The places we went to surf changed daily due to the conditions, but they have all been within just half an hour drive from our camp in Ahangama, All were between the cities of Unawatuna/Galle and Mirissa. We had tuk-tuks with surf board racks taking us everywhere we went, which was included in our surf course package at Lapoint. Sometime the winds, currents etc changed quite fast so that the we had to change spot mid day to stay where it was best, like moving in and out of the bay of Weligama.
We were up early every morning, sometimes to have a surfing session at 6am before breakfast. Then we had our surfing lessons in the late morning and into the afternoon, rested for a few hours and went back into the water to surf a couple of hours before sunset.
I had previously said that I did not like paddling and fighting my way out through waves and that I therefore was not too fond of surfing, but here it was different to all other surfing I have done before. Especially in the early mornings and late evenings the waves were big, predictable and green, and the current (especially at South beach) helped us to get effortless out to the waves. That made everything a lot more fun! Even in the daytime when the wind caught up and it got more choppy and rough it was all worth the effort when we at the end would catch a good wave back to the shore.
People travel to faraway places to witness hatchings of turtle eggs, which at most places happen once or twice a year. In the Southern parts of Sri Lanka it happens once a month at every full moon between January and July.
The nearby hatchery in Galle buys turtle eggs from the local fishermen who would otherwise have sold them as food to the locals. The eggs are then buried half a meter under the sand and are left 48 days (for green turtles) or 54 days (for leatherbacks) until they will hatch two or three evenings around full moon.
The the beach where we are at, Kabalana, there are 800 eggs which will hatch in the next couple of days. It will be an interesting sight watching them all crawl away and into the big ocean.
After just a couple of days here we feel well settled in at Villa Alkira, Ahngama. Except for the surfing the days are spent quite lazily at the beach and the pool, doing yoga, playing board games and reading books.
In the early evenings we head out to the nearby towns and cities for dinner and a couple of drinks. Yesterday we also went over to a shack at the end of the beach where we were served coconuts and all kinds of Sri Lankan meals, almost like tapas, sharing the plates and letting everyone taste everything.
Some day trips are possible as well, such as a visit to a nearby snakefarm, seeing waterfalls and going on safari in Yala National Park. We are just still a bit too jet lagged to do much and the surfing gets us even more tired, so until now we have just managed to stay up until nine, making us fully rested for the surfing sessions in the mornings.