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Published: March 1st 2017
At 5:15 am Kumar our driver for the day came to collect us from the hotel to drive us to Mirissa where we were going to board our boat for our trip out to sea looking for whales.
Even at this time of day market stalls were open and people were walking about going about their business. We drove and drove through the dark until after about an hour we reached Mirissa. The entrance to the port was a single track road and there were tourist buses trying to get into the port and of course there were drivers trying to leave the port at the same time!
Eventually we got to a car park and then Kumar walked us down to the boat. At the boat we had to leave our name and nationality (scary). Aboard we had to leave our shoes downstairs and then we climbed the stairs to seats. On each seat was a life jacket and everybody was required to wear one. Eventually we set off. After an hour we were out at sea looking for whales. And then we saw water being sent up into the air. Success! - for
the first time on a whale hunt Don and I finally saw them. Some were swimming along by themselves, then we saw what might have been a family of three spouts. And so on and so on. The boat followed the whales for about an hour. It was really something. The grand finale occurred as we were leaving the area, a large whale dived down and waved its tail fin at us as if waving goodbye!
As we were going back to shore we saw a school of dolphins putting on a show for us. I think that the dolphins were spinner dolphins. So the boat stopped and we were able to watch them for a while. This was all really worth getting up at 4:45 am!
As we were driving back to Galle, Kumar told us about his lucky escape from the 2004 tsunami. He and his family were in Colombo for some sort of ceremony that his son was involved in, possibly for his karate as his son represented Sri Lanka in the Olympic games. Whilst they were in Colombo the tsunami hit and his home in the Southern Province
was completely wiped out. Of course he had no insurance. He was able to acquire some land but his family lived in a tent for three years whilst they built a home! The whole coast line was devastated. He told us that before the tsunami the sand was a beautiful golden colour but afterwards it was left its current dull brown colour.
Along the road there were many modern hotels and more were being built. They are all foreign owned. This coast line is known for surfing and SCUBA diving, and many tourists go to the area.
We decided to stop in Galle to see the fortress on the way back from Mirissa. Galle Fort was first built in 1588 by the Portuguese. Later it was altered and massively extended by the Dutch beginning in 1640. The British eventually took it over in 1796 and held it until Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948. We walked several directions around the large fort structure, each culminating in a different angle overlooking the sea coast - an impressive defense system.
After walking around the fort area we went to find somewhere for lunch.
We saw the hospital, the post office and of course the tourist hotel with its large dining room. It was in there that we saw the Israeli tour group again.
By this time we were quite tired after our early arising so we decided to ask Kumar to take us back to the hotel. It was mid afternoon so the tuk-tuks were back on the road, the buses and trucks were running and the streets were full of people and animals, cars and scooters.
We arrived back to the hotel to pack and prepare for our homeward journey tomorrow. it was also our last opportunity for yummy ice cream sundaes from the pool bar.
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