Fort Galle and the whales

Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
Trip End Jun 07, 2012

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Saturday, April 28, 2012

28th April - we set out to explore Galle by day. The port is close to the island's southern most point, however we based ourselves in the old Dutch quarter, known as the fort. It is best known for being Sri Lanka's best-preserved colonial townscape, the fort is enclosed within a chain of huge bastions which now guard the area from modernisation as effectively as they once protected Dutch trading interests from marauding adventurers! We spent much of the day soaking up the forts sleepy charm, wandering the quaint streets lined with old churches and colonial villas. There isn't a whole lot to see, but the main pleasure is exploring the old streets, savouring the easy pace of life and refreshing absence of traffic. We did however stumble upon one man and his monkey. Not just any monkey, but a monkey wearing brightly coloured pantaloons! initially I laughed and thought it was so unbelievably cute (from a distance), until he started coming towards us, I ran, but not quick enough, the monkey had latched itself onto my leg. The last thing I wanted was to catch rabies, so I successfully shook it off, only for it to target Ross, before he knew what was happening the monkey was on his head, chewing his ear! No signs of rabies...yet...That evening we had our first proper Sri Lankan meal, which comprised of a pretty spicy curry, various chutney's, popadoms and mounds of rice (Nooooo)! It was in fact DELICIOUS! We also discovered Brownies Sri Lankan style (same as UK brownies but better).

29th April - one of our most exciting days all trip - the chance to spot the infamous blue whale. Having booked ourselves onto a tour the previous day we woke early and were chauffeured (by a tuk tuk) to a fishing harbour about an hour south of Galle. We boarded what probably used to be an old fishing boat and headed for the open ocean. The sea was so unbelievably rough, to the extent that if you stood up there was a high chance of being flung overboard (explains the fetching life jackets we were forced to wear). The oversized and seriously unflattering life jacket was soon to be the least of my problems...sea sickness was creeping up on me. I controlled the nausea long enough to thoroughly enjoy the school of dolphins (50-100), who preceded to show off around the boat, it was truly incredible. Unfortunately it was too rough to get any really good pics. I also had to make a quick dash to the toilet! We travelled for about an hour before we saw what we had all been waiting for - a glimpse of the blue whale. We were lucky enough to see 4 together, before 3 peeled off and we were left tracking the 4th for an hour or so. We got pretty close, which was incredible. Their size was just incomprehensible. Despite feeling decidedly unwell, the day was absolutely fantastic, a once in a lifetime experience.

30th - our last full day in Galle was spent exploring lots of boutique and antique shops. There were so many lovely items we desperately wanted to buy, but the shops were pretty expensive, and we are already at our weight limit :( That evening we watched the sun setting over the sea, which was a fantastic end to a great few days.

1st May - we packed up and made our way to the train station, in hope that we would have a relatively easy and stress-free journey to Kandy. We arrived at the station only to find out that our train didn't leave for another 3 hours. So we did what any sensible traveller do in this situation - head to the beach. This is what we did. It was a very stupid idea! We ended up being very hot, sweaty and covered in sand, with a 6 hour train journey still to come. Nevertheless, Unawatuna beach was gorgeous, and we were blessed with glorious weather (after several grey, wet days). After having our fill of sun, sea and sand we made our way back to the station and onwards to Kandy.
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jeff keeble on

Great to hear some more news and the photos from previous entries are fantastic. Hope the monkey is OK after drinking some of my son's blood ! Best wishes from all here in a rather dull and cold Northumberland. xxx

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