Sri Lanka

A weekend on the east coast around Trincomalee

Troupeau de vacges promenant sur la plage de Nilaveli au Sri Lanka

Camille, in charge of web referencing in the agency Mai Globe Travels tells us, her weekend with friends in the vicinity of Trincomalee, between snorkeling, culture and fishing.

 First morning, Pigeon Island

We started our weekend by visiting the Island of Pigeon Island. This national park is about 1km from the coast, facing the beautiful beach of Nilaveli, north of Trincomalee. The amazing name of this island, Pigeon Island, comes from the fact that many rock pigeons have elected it as a breeding ground. However, the attraction of the island is absolutely not due to the presence of these birds but rather to its rich marine life!

Indeed, this island is a veritable open-air aquarium where there are more than 300 species of fish, but also several varieties of turtles and sharks. One of the most important sharks is the black tip shark, a shark found abundantly near the tropical coral reefs of the Indian Ocean. This shark, which is 1.6 m long on average, is very impressive although harmless. He approaches up to 2 meters from the edge and does not seem to be bothered by the human presence. Fortunately, because the least we can say is that tourists are many, and this is the misfortune of the island, visitors do not realize the fragility and importance of do not walk on corals already in poor condition because of the tsunami of 2004 … Despite the negative reviews that can be found on TripAdvisor, we will keep an excellent memory and will not hesitate to return!

Meeting with a black tip shark

In the afternoon, visit the Koneswaram Temple

The Hindu temple of Koneswaram is perched on top of the rock named Swami Rock, which dominates the town of Trincomalee. To get to the temple, we have no choice but to cross the still active military base in Fort Frederick, dating from 1615. The strong military presence may seem somewhat surprising but not less than the countless deer that can be seen everywhere in the fort!

A big climb awaits us to reach the temple but it is not very long (less than 10 minutes) and it is superbly shaded by gigantic banyan trees. Arrived at the top we cross a kind of market, they are stalls selling all sorts of offerings as well as stalls of fruits and coconuts, ideal for a small gourmet break…

We then have a few tens of meters to reach the Koneswaram temple dedicated to Shiva. On arrival, we see a large statue of Shiva recognizable by its trident. We then discover the main building which is, due to years of war, rather in bad condition but nevertheless interesting to visit. At the exit of the temple we can witness an amazing ritual that involves breaking a coconut. This ritual is right next to two magnificent trees, covered with hundreds of wishbones. We finish the visit by the small cross dug into the rock that runs along the side of the cliff. Here, 130 meters high, the sea view is beautiful.

View from Swami Rock, in the foreground a Hindu deity and a greeting cage

Sunday fish on the menu

On Sunday morning, it was very (too) early when we left for a fishing trip with a local fisherman. It was only a few hundred meters from the beach that we anchored to start fishing. The fisherman had already prepared our canes, or should I say, our sons, since it is armed with a simple wire with two hooks that we fished. Here no maggot but pieces of small fish, a little ragout ant I agree, but very effective since it took little more than a minute to pull a fish (although my friend Thomas, only unfortunate to be back empty-handed, will not agree on the ease of fishing at Trincomalee!).

In less than two hours we had finished the bait, so we returned. In any case we had plenty to eat and we shared more than half of our amazing fishing with our friendly captain.

Once back at the guest house we were able to prepare our fish at the grill and we enjoyed the beautiful beach with golden sand while waiting for lunch. This long and beautiful beach is also very surprising, we saw cows passing by!

The best things come to an end … back to Colombo!

For my friends, half of their journey in Sri Lanka is over, but the day is not over, however it the end of the weekend for me. Indeed, in Sri Lanka transport has the advantage of being very cheap but they are however extremely long. So it’s just after this feast that I return to the Trincomalee bus station to return to Colombo. Luckily it is a station of departure and not passage, so there are still seats, rare and valuable!

Due to lack of time, we were unable to observe whales off the coast – no regrets as it was not the best time from May to October in Trincomalee. The city has a reputation for having a high concentration of cetaceans and the greatest specialists of the subject come here to make observations. It is even possible (for the most patient) to watch whales from Swami Rock!

If this little story makes you want to visit Sri Lanka but you do not know what the best time is, know that the island has a lot to offer you at any time of the year, travel experts at Mai Globe Travels will offer you the best.

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