The south eastern coast of Sri Lanka around Hikkaduwa area is famous for its beautiful beaches and the
sea turtles in its waters. The train hugs the coast all the way from Colombo to Galle, passing through
other seaside towns such as Bentota and Ambalangoda. The coast is also well known amongst surfers
and scuba divers.
I spent the whole day travelling down the coast from Colombo to Unawatuna, by train at first to Aluthgama,
then by tuk-tuk for the rest of the way. I was really surprised at how pretty the beaches were,
and had a fascinating visit to a sea turtle hatchery followed by an excellent lunch of curried crab.
The train trundled down the Sri Lankan coast at not much more than a slow gallop, with folk such as
this old gent taking the breeze through the windows.
Around us the landscape changed from the Colombo cityscape to a lush green-carpeted tropical forest.
Boats pitched up on the beach as seen from the train. Yes, it really runs this close to the sea.
Once I'd switched to tuk-tuk transport, we stopped at this archetypally beautiful beach.
Colourful boats sit newly painted across the road from the water's edge.
I watched a group of fishermen singing as they hauled in their nets.
We stopped off at a sea turtle hatchery in the Hikkaduwa area, here the eggs are still maturing under
Baby turtles barely a few days old. Ninety-nine percent hatched are male, and they are released to
the sea when not much larger than this. The females are much more valuable, so are separated and grown
in captivity for a number of years before release.
The teeny tiny baby sea turtles are really quite strong swimmers, and are well capable of scuttling
rapidly across the sand.
In this place of paradise there are still reminders of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which ravaged
much of the Sri Lankan coast on Boxing Day 2004.
A boat dropped by the tsunami sits amongst a lush green landscape, slowly reclaiming it.
There is a memorial to the people who lost their lives during the tsunami, with the mural depicting
the train that was washed away.
A newly completed statue of Buddha stands over a lake south of Hikkaduwa.
I was really taken with brightness of the green carpet in the Sri Lankan jungle, looks soft enough to