06.03.2010 - 09.03.2010 35 °C
We spent our last few days in Sri Lanka on the west coast. We caught the bus from Galle, with one of the craziest bus drivers of the whole trip. The buses tend to fill up from the back and we were sitting behind the driver with far too close a view of the oncoming traffic. Fortunately a policeman got on half way through the journey and sat right at the front next to the driver - who was then transformed into Mr Sensible.
We've travelled along nearly all of the south coast and half way up the west. The road hugs the coast and is really scenic - although there is much more evidence of the tsunami on the west coast. It was even hotter on the west coast than on the south - the sand on the beach was too hot to walk barefoot. Even the locals were finding it uncomfortably hot and the newspapers were attributing it to an El Niño effect. The west coast beaches aren't as picture postcard perfect as the south and the sea was still too rough to swim in.
We stayed in Induruwa, mainly to visit the turtle hatcheries there and in nearby Kosgoda - the beaches around here are the nesting grounds for five species of marine turtles: the Green Turtle, the Leatherback, the Hawksbill, the Loggerhead and the Olive Ridley. The hatcheries, which are supposed to greatly improve the baby turtles' chances of survival, were all destroyed in the tsunami but have now been rebuilt - thanks mainly to foreign donations and sponsored tanks. The eggs are collected by local fishermen and sold to the hatcheries (rather than in the markets, destined for omelettes) where they are kept in nests until they hatch. They are then put into water tanks for 3 days, until their navels close, and then released into the sea at night.
The hatchery we visited is funded by entrance fees and donations and the visit was much more hands-on than we expected. We were shown the nests then our guide started digging into one nest that contained a mixture of eggs and new hatchlings and took out two baby green turtles for us to transfer to the water tank.
The hatchery also has some disabled adult turtles - Sue was handed this incredibly heavy blind turtle and was afraid of dropping it. We weren't really sure that handling the turtles was appropriate, but we weren't given much choice.
We decided not to visit Colombo just passing swiftly through on the bus on the way to Negombo for our final night before flying back to the UK.