Sri Lanka Day 10

Hi Everyone

Am writing so late because I have been roaming around this three star hotel in Koggala Beach trying to pick up a strong internet line. Finally found one.

So how did our day start? I wanted to wake up early and walk down to the small lake in back of our unit to find some crocodiles. Overslept. The “Africa Hot” has been taking my energy away. We had breakfast and I could barely drink hot coffee it was so muggy in our open air dining room. We finally left Yala National Park and on the way out, drove past the small lake that I was supposed to wake up early and find some crocs. We found some swimming in murky water looking at our bus. Did not get out to take some pictures, since I was in our air conditioned bus and needed to decompress longer. We then left and I immediately fell asleep. Two hours later I woke up and was told that I was  loudly snoring away. I needed that. We drove on a coastal road down the coastline. The Indian Ocean was on our left side. We saw lots of old damage from the 2004 tsunami that has not been taken care of yet. We started to pass long poles sticking in the shallow part of the water. What was this? We were told that there is a certain way of fishing in this area called “Stilt Fishing”. This is the only place in the world where people fish like this. More on this later.

Finally arrived at our hotel. We passed lots of small villages and towns. The area is called Koggala Beach. Koggala is in southern Sri Lanka. The surf is rough and the waves are big. Passed lots of Surf Schools on the beach. After check in, Olivia and myself walked to town in “Africa Hot”. The town, if you can call it a town, was around 1 and one half miles away. Nothing much to look at. Quite poor. A few shops, but not worth it. The hotel is a run down hotel on the beach that needs a refurbishing. Olivia does not like the bathroom and says that it is very dingy. I just laughed thinking about my Mongolian toilet. Our hotel appeared to be the best in the area. The facilities are still suffering from the 2004 tsunami. Its only been thirteen years? A few more years will not matter. We will have to struggle along and make do. We stopped at a beach bar to quench our thirst. I ordered iced coffee. The waiter brought me over a pot of coffee. I told him I ordered iced coffee. He put it down and showed me that the pot was filled with coffee and ice. Oh well, I guess its iced coffee served in a cup and not a glass. Olivia had a mango shake and we had some fish kebob. The fish kebob was excellent. The fish was so fresh and tasty. It was then time to walk back. We took the beach walk back. Going there we walked on the main road with tuk tuk drivers constantly pulling over and asking us if we wanted a ride. The water was very warm and the beach is beautiful, but with large waves. Perfect for surfing. We finally reached our hotel and I saw stilts in the distance. Decided to investigate.

What is “Stilt Fishing”? Fishermen dig long stilts into the shallow part of the water with little steps and a perch on top. They then climb onto the pole and get up onto the perch. That is where they fish from. The entire structure is made of wood and each structure looked hand made with many different curves and lengths to the stilts. The fishermen stand or sit on the perch and then throw their lines out into the water. They are not tied to the poles, but either stand or sit there. What balance this must take and if sitting, how would their rear ends feel? I took lots off pictures of this fascinating way to fish as the sun set behind the fishermen. The fishermen only fish in the late afternoon and in the morning. Each time for a few hours. Ask me if they catch anything? I saw lots of fish being caught this way. What also interested me is that the stilts did not fall down after taking hit after hit from large waves and rough water. I was told that the stilts are dug very deep when there is low tide and that they hold up against this type of punishment. I plan on going to watch them again before we leave.

I am getting bitten up by bugs and mosquitos writing to you. The air is hot and humid. Time to say goodnight until tomorrow and crawl back into my air conditioned cocoon.