Thursday, March 8, 2012

My Sri Lanka Travel Day 4 Colombo

The last day started a little early, at 8 AM as we wanted to visit both, a coral reef and Turtle hatchery. We first went to the Turtle hatchery. It is maintained by a charitable institution. They buy the eggs from the local fishermen, hatch them and release the young turtles back into the sea. There are some 20 odd varieties of turtles in the world and some 5-6 varieties are in Sri Lanka seas (Indian Ocean) The guide showed us an egg and asked to feel the texture. It is white and round, not oval. The shell is not hard, does not break on light pressure, instead dips in like a ping pong ball. Not a great size, rather small about 1.5 inch in diameter. Turtles have an average lifetime of over 200 years and the man in charge showed us a turtle aged over 150 years. The institution also nurses injured and permanently maimed turtles brought by fishermen. If one has only one eye the other has only one hand yet another is without both hind legs. They survive without one or more body part. The man in charge showed us a rare white turtle. He says white turtles are about one in 10,000! An adult turtle lays anything from 150 to 200 eggs at a time. It digs a burrow in the sand on the shore during midnight, mostly on full moon nights, lay the eggs and closes the pit with sand. The mother visits the spot every night to not only make sure that the eggs are not eaten away by predators but also to take the newly hatched babies to the sea!

After seeing the wonder of nature in the form of little turtle life, we proceeded to a Coral Reef. Sri Lanka is also called Coral Island if I am not wrong. The glass bottom boatman took us to a nearby spot where coral plants are visible through the glass bottom. Corals also grow in deep see bottom but you cannot see it through a glass bottom boat. I remembered my daughter, in the U.S. taking us to a marine life study University where they took us around in a similar but far bigger glass bottom boat. We saw two types of coral plants. One the usual type as the boatman told, and the other is mushroom shaped plant. It looks so lovely through the glass but actually the edges of the mushroom like petals are hard and razor sharp! The boatman showed us his soles full of wound scars made by these plants!

The boatman had carried a loaf of bread and constantly threw crumbs in the waters so that the colored and other varieties of fish rushed to grab a bite! It was good fun when he threw the crumbs from one side to the other of the boat so that the fish rush from side to side under our boat and visible through the glass bottom.

After coral reef we went to Colombo. In fact Bentota is a part of Colombo. We had lunch at an Indian hotel - good spicy buffet.

After lunch we went for shopping at a mall. By three we drove to the airport, a 90 minutes drive to catch our flight at 6.40PM. Reached Bangalore at around 8 PM. There ended a good Sri Lanka Travel. I wish to go again visiting northern part, Anuradhapura the old capital and other places.

The link to my on-line album:


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