White Water Rafting Elephants

Trip Start Dec 23, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

After a few days in Kandy it was time to get moving so we started this day off early and drove out to the elephant orphanage at Pinnawela, did some white water rafting in the afternoon, and finished with a drive to Adam's Peak...though only about 200 km in total, this was through small, winding village roads with wild Sri Lankan drivers!

First was the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.  The orphanage was primarily designed to afford
care and protection to the many baby elephants found in the jungle
without their mothers. In most of these cases the mother had either
died or been killed. In some instances the baby had fallen into a pit
and in others the mother had fallen in and died.  One of the main goals, other than elephant care, is to attract both local and
foreign visitors, the income from which helps to maintain the
orphanage. (http://www.elephant.se/location2.php?location_id=43&show=1)

In an attempt to simulate the conditions in the wild, the elephants are allowed to roam "freely" during the day and a herd structure allowed to form.  In the mornings the babies are fed milk, while the adults graze on the grasslands.  Both in the morning and afternoon, the elephants are walked to the local river for two hours of bathing and playtime.  It was quite interesting to see the animals untethered up-close and see them play and bathe in semi-freedom.  Definitely worth a visit the next time you're in Sri Lanka!

As I said before, after the orphanage we traveled through Kitulgala on the way to Adam'Peak.  Since this area is known for white water rafting in Sri Lanka, I decided to stop for a quick ride.  As I was alone, I was hastily thrown into a raft with a group of Russians who literally could not speak a word of English.  Throwing out a brief Russian greeting, I was accepted into the group and we were off.  Nothing too exciting to report, as rafting in Sri Lanka is not like rafting in Colorado, but still a nice way to kill a few hours.  The only situation of note was rather hilarious...to me at least.  Nearing the end, e came to one of the larger rapids and after having navigated it our raft went sideways into a rock.  The force of the hit knocked one Russian girl out of the boat and as they pulled her in (a bit difficult as she was rather sturdy) her bikini bottoms came off and she lay there in the middle of the raft, face down and bum up laughing with her family when someone remembered there was a non-family member on board and loudly whispers "A-mer-ee-kan"!  LOL, man, the look on her face was priceless and her eyes bulged and she hurried pulled up her bottoms, while my not-so-contained snickers caused the rest of her family to explode in laughter and cheers!

The rest of the interesting day was spent driving to Adam's Peak through the beautiful hillsides where they make the famous Ceylon tea.  Tonight brings a 2:30 am wake up and steep inclines to reach Adam's Peak for sunrise!
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