Wellawaya to Buduruwagala

After the swell had failed produce the goods down on the South coast we decided to see more of the country and experience the beauty of Sri Lanka's hill country and its vast tea plantations.
We set off in search of adventure, leaving the coast before sunrise to catch a long bus journey through coastal towns, winding roads and eventually up to cooler climes and off the beaten tracks. After a day's worth of travelling on the bus we finally came to our stop; a small station just outside the town of Wellawaya. The rain clouds drew in for the evening, and as we scrambled off the bus the rain had started to pour. Looking like a bunch of drowned rats we managed to find a couple of tuk tuks to take us to a resthouse for the night. After setting our bags down in our rooms we went to join the owners for a beer whilst we chatted, played cards and revelled in the solitude and seclusion of this quiet rural town with it's views of the mountains and lush rice paddies.

As the beers flowed we eventually drew up a plan of action for the next few days; to see and do as much as possible in the area. Starting early the next morning we would set off for a day of waterfalls, hikes and ancient temples, in search of adventure and a little bit of culture that had somewhat been lacking down on the coast.

First stop on our early morning adventure was the Buduruwagala (meaning 'the rock with the statue of Buddha) ancient buddhist temple. Here we saw a statue of Buddha carved into the cliff-face 
standing 51-feet tall. 

The central carving of the three figures is thought to be the Buddhist mythological figure of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

We headed back to the van, after acquiring a few new furry friends, and set off in search of this amazing waterfall...

We stopped by this fresh fruit and vegetable stall, much to the delight of the monkeys that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. Hurtling down from the tree-tops, rustling through the branches and munching on corn that had been left to the side.

We left the monkeys to their grub and returned to the resthouse as the rain started to fall. We were treated to one of the most delicious Sri Lankan curries we'd had so far on the trip. The lovely owners of the resthouse completely spoilt us with a table filled with a variety of dishes and delicious flavours, from pumpkin simmering in coconut milk to bowls of spicy chicken. We finished the day with beers, full, happy bellies and endless thank yous for the amazing food.

Mirissa Surf & Storms

We managed to get a few good surfs in in Mirissa but it didn't take long for it to get crowded on this short right-hander. When the line-up got too busy and the storm clouds started rolling in, I opted out and left Matty in there so I could take a few snaps.

The sky soon morphed into majestic hues of blues, purples and pinks as the lightening started to strike out to sea. The crackle of thunder echoed from the distance and the wind started to pick up.

We treated ourselves to a dinner of fresh fish and lion beers whilst watching the storm churn the rough sea towards the horizon. Mirissa's beach is filled with twinkling lights at nighttime which creates a perfect and incredibly romantic setting. The bars blast out music and the warm, Indian Ocean breeze soothes and relaxes as you feel the gentle waves reach under your table on the shore, cooling your feet. 

Weligama Sunsets

After attempting to discover some waves, a group of us eventually stumbled across Weligama when cruising down the coast in a couple of tuk tuks, with our boards haphazardly strapped to the roof.
The surf wasn't particularly great, what with Weligama's big close outs, polluted waters and big crowds, I didn't end up having the best surf. Despite this, I ended up having the best time, this time out the water (which doesn't happen often!) as I took photos of the stunning sunset. The sky turned hazy as the sun began to descend, and a faint breeze rustled through the air as the sound of the breaking waves echoed along the shore.

Mammoth bats soared overhead, causing the birds to retreat to their trees until the formidable shadows disappeared into the twilight. Fishermen returned from their day at sea with wooden sail boats filled with fresh fish of all shapes and sizes, their scales shimmering in the burning sunset. I walked along the beach attempting to capture these beautiful scenes as the twilight slowly set in and the burning rays gradually disappeared behind the verdant palm trees in the distance. Eventually the darkness grew and the bats returned from the twilight. We returned to the road to haul on our boards onto the roof of the tuk tuk, setting off into the warm night air along the buzzing roads. We passed fish stalls lining the streets with their twinkling lights drawing in the locals. Their stalls filled to the brim with the catch of the day.

Feed, Clean, Sweat, Repeat...

Unfortunately, due to the fact that I have been internet-less for the past week/2 weeks I haven’t been able to keep up to date on my blog and travels etc, so instead of a day by day i’ll just write about the highlights instead! 

Some of the turtle sanctuary's friends
The majority of our days were spent cleaning the turtles and the tanks and feeding the turtles. It was hard, backbreaking work, and to be honest, pretty tiresome at times, we came back stinking of fish and sweating like we've never sweated before. However, it did make it all worth while when I saw the turtles swimming around in their clean tanks.

 De-leeching the turtles at the disabled sanctuary 

 The leeches have to be killed once pulled off the turtles to stop them from returning, bit of a mess.

One of the less exciting aspects of the turtle project… scrubbing the tanks! Eugh. It’s pretty hard, monotonous work but has to be done!

Two volunteers (Meg & Clayton) in mid de-leech mode on one of the green turtles.

De-Leeching weapons of choice (knife and coconut husk)

Leatherback facts…

Loggerhead facts…

Olive Ridley facts…

State of the art water pump…