Tangalle - the middle of nowhere

Trip Start Nov 05, 2013
Trip End May 12, 2014

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Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern Province,
Friday, May 2, 2014

Well we knew very little about Tangalle apart from where we were staying and that we could go and see the turtles laying their eggs at night. When we arrived at Tangalle bus station after our hour and a half bus journey, we then had to get a Tuk Tuk about 9km to our accommodation, coconut island. As each km passed we seemed to be getting further and further into the sticks, until finally we reached our guest house that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.

The place itself looked really nice as there was a massive garden filled with palm trees, and this was set right next to a big lagoon. There was also 3 dogs and one of them was a cheeky 4 month old puppy that was full of life. Our room was also quite nice with a modern bathroom but it was set outside with a big window so you could see in from the bedroom. Also we had no fan and the outside roof wasn't completely filled in, so we knew we would be in for a sweaty night while trying to battle the Mosquitos.

We set off in search for some kayaks and the hotel next door were able to hire some for us. For the next couple of hours we went off round the lagoon which was amazing in the sunshine. We saw all different types of birds and there was fish that would jump out of the water as we came close to them. We even came across a local fisherman who posed for a picture for me. On the way back there was a bridge with some small holes in it, so I had to give it a go and try and fit through one of them. I did just about make it through by bending down and nearly getting stuck in the middle.

Later in the evening we decided we would go in search of the turtle centre where we could go and see the turtles coming to the beach to lay their eggs. We first had to get a Tuk Tuk to take us the 12km to the Rekawa beach along the bumpiest and worst roads we had seen, so we had to hold on for dear life at points. When we got to the centre we were greeted by a man who told us that a group had already left in search of the turtles with a guide. Fortunately by the time we made it down there, we hadn't actually missed anything. The turtle had to be left alone to come up on to the beach and dig out the hole and the egg chamber which could take about an hour or so. Only once the turtle had started laying the eggs were we aloud to go and watch as she would be in a trance and not notice us standing around at the back of her.

As we approached, the volunteer would guide us with the aid of a red light. At no point was anyone to use a torch or flash photography as this could aggravate the turtle during her laying. When we saw the turtle I couldn't believe my eyes, she was almost double the size I was expecting her to be. She had dug out an incredibly big hole and we could see the eggs coming out the back of her and going into the egg chamber she had dug out. The guide was very informative and answered many of our questions. It turns out that this turtle was actually about 250kg and was approx 50 years old!

After we had all seen her lay the eggs, it was time for us to go back along the beach as she would come back out of her trance. She would then cover the eggs back over with the sand and needed her privacy so we all waited about an hour and a half for her to finish. Fortunately while we were waiting, the guide told us that another big green turtle had come to the beach and had already started digging. We didn't have to wait too long before we went to see the other turtle laying her eggs as well. Just as the second turtle had finished laying it was then time to go and see the 1st turtle return to the water. It was such an incredible sight as we could really see how huge the turtle was now. Slowly but surely she made her way down the bank, before disappearing back into the sea.

The next day we really didn't get up to much, we spent most of the day chilling out and lounging around as there wasn't much more about. We did go for a walk to try and find some shops out on the main road, however we weren't very successful in finding anything. Later we got caught up in a massive thunderstorm and got absolutely soaked trying to get back to our room. There was literally only one restaurant on the beach where we ate the whole time as our guest house wasn't really set up for it. They did say they could cook us stuff but they didn't have a menu so we weren't too sure it would be a good idea. However that evening we came a little stuck. As we set out to the restaurant for dinner we soon realised there wasn't any lights to guide us there. We had to rely on Bridget's phone to guide our way, but this didn't give out much light at all. We even had to navigate over this long wooden bridge in the pitch black of night, only to find that the restaurant was shut. So in the end we settled for an omelet back at our guest house which actually didn't turn out to be that bad.
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