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Sri Lanka - Hikkaduwa/Galle

We swam with Sea Turtles!

sunny 38 °C
View India and South East Asia on philosipha's travel map.

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Thanks to a bit of inside local knowledge we took a train south to Galle from an earlier station than we first intended. This was to be an outstanding idea. We had arrived early to beat the crowds. We took a seat and ended up talking at great length with a young nun who taught at the local school about her life here.
She had warned us that it would be chaos once the train was pulling in to the station!

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She wasn't wrong. As the train's horn sounded it's arrival people were running, pushing and shoving for their spot. With Hannah racing ahead to find some seats and Scott behind carrying both heavy packs! Hannah was able to secure the elusive right-hand side window seat that would allow us great views of the coast on the journey.
It would have been impossible to get a seat at the next station with more people now standing than sitting!
The train ride was a magnificent four hours of beautiful coastline and an insight in to the lives of those who live beside the railway lines. Often having to move out of the way for the passing train.

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During our journey Hannah was doing more research for what to do in Sri Lanka. We then passed through a place called Hikkaduwa. Hannah mentioned that we could swim with wild Giant Sea Turtles here! We debated whether we should disembark now and change our plans to stay there instead. After looking at the map we realised we could do it as a day trip so continued onward to Galle.

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Galle is an interesting place seeped in Dutch colonial and naval history. All over the old garrisoned town were buildings left behind that had now been repurposed for tourism and hospitality. With idyllic side streets that would take you back to a time long gone.
So, back to the Giant Sea Turtles. We hired a driver and set off back up the road to Hikkaduwa. It didn’t take us long to find the stretch of beach where the turtles came in to feed. Plenty of vendors were trying to hire us snorkels and there were a few excited people in the sea! We chose our snorkels and dived in.

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Three turtles came in to the cove which was quite close to the beach. They didn’t appear fazed by all the people trying to feed them seaweed. In fact they appeared to be enjoying it, making no effort to try and get away.
There was indeed some fantastic coral reef and other wildlife around so often we would leave the turtles for a moment and go see what else we could find. There was a small section of coral that was in a horseshoe shape about twenty feet wide in about six feet deep water.

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While Hannah was exploring this section alone she felt the current push her a bit too close to the coral. When she turned around, to her surprise Hannah had come face to face with one of the turtles who had come to join her in her exploration of the horseshoe coral! She couldn't believe her luck.
This was a truly magical experience that we will both cherish for the rest of our lives.
The snorkel hire was only for three hours, so we reluctantly gave them back and returned to our hotel smiling from ear to ear.

Link to our gallery from Hikkaduwa/Galle here.

Posted by philosipha 03:47 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged trains sea_turtles

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