Our Day Out To Galle

Breakfast at a reasonable time, 0700 hrs this morning,  then into the waiting car for 0730 hrs, Joe behind the wheel and away we went, straight into the bedlam of the morning Colombo traffic, though it never seems to quieten down.   Bleep, Bleep Bleep from everyone and I have noticed Joe, our Driver, bleeping at times for no reason, just habit I presume!

Our “course” to Galle was along the coast road  stopping at various places along the way with an ETA around 1400 hrs.

Outside the Biscuit Factory

Outside the Biscuit Factory

Our first stop, a picture moment, was the Maliban Biscuit Factory, this was the company my Father did a lot of work with,  including much of the planning for this current, new in 1961, factory but unfortunately he didn’t live to see the completed factory.  Unfortunately due to heavy traffic and not being able to park, I could only get a poor shot of the front of the office block, the factory behind it was not seen.

Our next stop was the Turtle Hatchery where we got to learn about turtles and hold them.

The Entrance

The Entrance

This place not only hatches the eggs and keeps

The Five Species of Sea Turtles

The Five Species of Sea Turtles

the babies until they are 5 years old before releasing them into the sea, they also take in

Brave Lady!

Brave Lady!

turtles that have been caught up in Fisherman’s nets Etc.  We saw several that had lost their flippers, naturally they would have died back in the sea, but here, they can live their life out.

Bigger and BRAVER

Bigger and BRAVER

They also had turtles born disfigured and with no eyes, again

An.  Albino Turtle, Very Unusual

An. Albino Turtle, Very Unusual

they wouldn’t survive in the ocean.  We also

looked at a rare “Albino” turtle.

After this quite remarkable place and a quick

A Blind Turtle being Cared For

A Blind Turtle being Cared For

visit to the obligatory gift shop, we were off in the car again.

Our next port of call was the inland lagoon, Lake Ratgama, with 64 Islands in it.  We got into our private open topped boat and set off through the Mangroves and into the

Our Boat Driver

Our Boat Driver

spectacular tidal lagoon.  The boat driver first took us through a tunnel cut in the Mangroves, it looked like a big black hole until our eyes adjusted and it gave us a very close-up look at

The Traps for Catching Prawns

The Traps for Catching Prawns

their root systems which involves turning salty sea water into pure water, very clever!

We passed the traps used for catching prawns, they shine a bright light at night, the prawns swim into the traps, can’t get out and bingo, someone’s lunch next day.  We also passed a number of fish farms, the driver wanted to stop but we said no.

Next came the temple but we told him we were templed out so apart from

Temple in the Middle of the Lake

Temple in the Middle of the Lake

a photograph, we could move on.

Next he took us to another island and here insisted we get out, and I have to say we were glad as this old boy demonstrated how they took the branch from the Cinnamon tree,

Stripping out the Cinnamon

Stripping out the Cinnamon

shaved off the outside green bark, that went as compost, then gently skinned the remaining wood from the branch which became the

cinnamon.

Boating through the Mangroves

Boating through the Mangroves

He then wrapped these thin slivers of wood into a length and dried them, not in the sunlight, but in the pitch of his hut roof for 5 days after which it is brown and ready for grating and use; fascinating.  His next demonstration was how he weaves the coconut leaves into matting and he explained that when two layers thick, it will keep the house dry. Last but not least, he took the hair from

Fisherman on Lake

Fisherman on Lake

the dried coconut, weaved it, doubled it and hey presto, rope.  We all tried to pull it apart but no, it was too strong.

Back into the boat passing several birds and fishermen we made our way back but didn’t stop, we went onto the mouth

A Kingfisher Along the Way

A Kingfisher Along the Way

of this lagoon, I am sure he wanted us to know and see this was a salt water lake!  This trip lasted a hour and half and we really enjoyed it and it was good to get back onto the water.  As we approached our jetty, who was there to meet us, why Joe of

Joe awaits our return

Joe awaits our return

course!  Joe looks after us like a mother hen, I am sure he is thinking of the big tip he hopes to get at the end!!!

On the move again, lunch is fast approaching and Joe said he will take us to a good fish restaurant on the beach, but first we have to drive through areas where the major Tsumani hit, Boxing Day 2004.

The Train Boxing Day 2004

The Train Boxing Day 2004

The  devastation caused, as we saw on the

The Railway Line, Boxing Day 2004

The Railway Line, Boxing Day 2004

news at the time, is highlighted by seeing it  as it is un inhabitable

A Monument Over the Mass Grave

A Monument Over the Mass Grave

The figure officially quoted was 43,000 dead but our “local” driver thinks the true number is about double.  There is also a mass grave

with  5,000 un

Tsunami Damage

Tsunami Damage

identifiable bodies in,  and a memorial that has been built on the

The Japanese Monument

The Japanese Monument

spot.   Additionally the Japanese have also built a Statue to commemorate this tragedy, but the Japanese did it a a good omen to stop any re occurrence of any future Tsunamis.

Tsunami Damage

Tsunami Damage

This was a sad part of our journey but it did bring home the devastation people suffered and it also brings home how lucky we are to be living in Europe.

Lunch next and after leaving the main area of the Tsunami we arrived at this Fish Restaurant recommended by Joe. Well the

Entrance to Fish Restaurant

Entrance to Fish Restaurant

entrance certainly didn’t give a good impression but once we ad walked through, we were happy.  The fish on display in the tanks and in the chill cabinets looked very good and we were happy! We got table, after a swop, next to the beach ant then ordered. A prawn and Avocado starter for Christine, rock

Seafood Platter

Seafood Platter

Oysters for me then a mixed Seafood platter to share, with Chips!!!  All very nice and we were full.  The most spectacular thing here was the size of the jumbo Prawns, they were the size of a Lobster,

A Jumbo Prawn

A Jumbo Prawn

quite remarkable but the one e hd was a little tasteless. In this case, big was not better!!!

The Seafood Restaurant

The Seafood Restaurant

Lunch over and off to Galle.  Galle historically was very important and on the peninsula the Portuguese built the original fort in 1588. But the  Dutch modified it extensively from 1649 onwards.  The walls

The Ramparts Today

The Ramparts Today

are extremely thick, so thick that they were the only man built building not Damaged by the Tsunami.  There is not that much to see in the old fort, people live there, there is a Hotel and the usual

Galle Cricket Ground

Galle Cricket Ground

tourist shops.  Apart from a walk along the ramparts, and looking at the Cricket pitch where test matches are played there is not a lot to see so Joe drove us through quickly, pointing some things out as we went.

A View Of Galle Harbour

A View Of Galle HarbourJoe just drove us around so we could get a feel of the place.

The Refurbished Dutch Church

The Refurbished Dutch Church in Fort Galle

Next it was time for the beach, a swim, one hour of Sunbathing and a cuppa.  Joe dropped us at a beach where we enjoyed swimming in the

The Beach We Swam Off

The Beach We Swam Off

Indian Ocean, but

One of the Entrances to Galle Fort

One of the Entrances to Galle Fort

by now the sun was not at its brightest so after swimming, we dressed and enjoyed “Tea for Two”

Joe waited in the car, enjoying a siesta, until we were ready.  This time Joe Took us on the fairly new “Highway” a

It's Been A Long Day!

It’s Been A Long Day!

Chineese constructed duel carriageway built to European Motorway standards though the maximum speed limit was 100 kph (60 mph) due to so many accidents!  The 116 Km took us one hour ten minutes, the 26 Km’s took us nearly an hour, again mad driving, hooting and in the dark, oh well, rest day tomorrow!

 

 

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