Sri Lanka with my family

User avatar
Broomstick
Rank: Premium Member
Rank: Premium Member
Posts: 770
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 10:43 am

Sri Lanka with my family

Postby Broomstick » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:21 pm

G’day mates,

Greetings from Kuala Lumpur! I’m currently waiting for a flight to Borneo after spending an amazing 3 weeks in Sri Lanka, and I thought I’d use the time to share a bit of my trip with you. This wasn’t a fishing trip (it was a family holiday - 12 of us in total :o_0: ), but Dad and I snuck a couple of travel rods over and managed to squeeze in a couple of cheeky flicks. The main goal of the trip was to see some of Sri Lanka’s beautiful native wildlife, but before we could make our way into the countryside, we had to go through Colombo:

Image

I went to India a couple of years ago and it was just like the major cities over there: chaos. There is so little space in Colombo that they are literally filling in the ocean to create more land:

Image

I won’t dwell on this, but suffice to say it makes me extremely angry. Anyway, we wasted no time and were quickly on a bus heading north towards a coastal area called Kalpatiya. We were nearly there when disaster struck:

Image

We hit a motorcyclist head on. Chaos erupted, and in a flash the motorcyclist had been loaded into the back of a passing ute and taken to hospital, our driver had disappeared, and an angry mob had formed. Our driver had hit the cyclist while overtaking on the wrong side of the road and, although this type of driving is the norm in Sri Lanka, the public wanted blood:

Image

We jumped on another bus before things got ugly, and on arrival at our accommodation in Kalpatiya, were greeted with the perfect trauma cure:

Image
Image

Puppies! These guys were residents at our hotel, and did wonders for group morale:

Image

This cute little frog didn’t hurt either:

Image

The next morning we got up before the sun and headed to a local beach to see the local spinner dolphins, which form massive pods in the area at this time of year. We booked a local boat and my first impressions didn’t fill me with confidence, especially when they were still fitting the outboard 10 minutes before we left:

Image

But the locals knew how to handle a boat, and we were soon in open water. We started heading towards a flock of working birds and shapes started to appear amongst the waves:

Image

Then suddenly, the water erupted with dolphins:

Image

There were hundreds of them, and we spent the next hour following the school around. They’re called spinner dolphin because they leap out of the water and spin:

Image

Scientists aren’t sure why they do this, but I like to think they just do it for fun. I also saw a couple of tuna jump out of the water while we were following the pod of dolphins – what I would have given for a trolling outfit and an x-rap. I bet the local fisherman wouldn’t have minded one either:

Image

From Kalpatiya we travelled inland to Wilpattu national park, where we were hoping to see leopards. I spent weeks in India looking for leopards and never found one, so I was desperate to see them on this trip. This park was dominated by dense woodland:

Image

So spotting wildlife was difficult. However we still saw a heap of cool animals including spotted deer:

Image

Sambar deer:

Image

Land monitors:

Image

Coyotes (in the distance):

Image

And lots of cool birds like this serpent eagle:

Image

Brown fish owl:

Image

Blue-tailed bea-eater:

Image

Malabar hornbill:

Image

And Sri Lanka’s glorious national bird:

Image

…a chicken. Well technically it’s a jungle fowl, but it sure looks like a chicken:

Image

But unfortunately, the leopards eluded me again. From here we made our way to a local village, which involved a ride over some treacherous ground in a bullock-powered cart:

Image

And a short trip across a (very fishy looking) river:

Image

It was very beautiful:

Image

And every spare piece of land was being used to grow food (who knew pineapples grow on bromeliads?!):

Image

Rice is the staple, and there were rice paddies everywhere:

Image

It was a great experience, and we met some beautiful people:

Image
Image

And some cool local wildlife (almost every standing body of water, no matter how big, will hold frogs and turtles):

Image
Image

Our next stop was Kaudalla national park, which is famous for it’s elephants. And it didn’t disappoint:

Image
Image

This old matriarch let us know we were getting too close to her herd by charging at a nearby jeep:

Image

Then marching the herd away:

Image

From here we made our way to the ancient city of Anuradhapura, which dates back to the 3rd century BC:

Image

It was a solid hike to the top, but the views were spectactular:

Image
Image

And I found this cool cave, which was filled with bats:

Image
Image

And skinks:

Image

Next stop was Sri Lanka’s second biggest city, Kandy, where we had an amazing view from our balcony:

Image

We did a bit of shopping at the local markets:

Image

Which, like in every city in India, were full of Colombo crows:

Image

We visited a few cultural landmarks, including Sri Lanka’s most holy Buddhist temple – the temple of the tooth relic, which apparently holds one of Buddha’s teeth:

Image
Image

Unfortunately my life of debauchery prevented any epiphany of enlightenment, but there were heaps of monkeys to keep me entertained including grey langurs:

Image
Image

And common macaques:

Image
Image

We also saw a couple of snake charmers:

Image

Although interesting, it’s pretty barbaric – they cut out the cobra’s fangs, and many die either from the surgery or from starvation. Pretty grim:

Image

From Kandy we travelled to Centauria Lake – an impoundment in the central province of Sabaragamuwa. We had a spare afternoon so Dad and I finally got a chance to wet a line. The lake is huge, but after a bit of exploring we found this little channel, which looked a lot deeper and fishier than the rest of the lake:

Image

We started flicking around little hards and it didn’t take long before the first fish hit the bank:

Image

My first fish in Sri Lanka - a little under whelming. But it was roughly the same size and shape as my lure, and perhaps there were predators lurking too. But my next fish wasn’t much bigger:

Image

A species of barb – pretty, but no trophy. We caught a few of these aggressive little guys:

Image

Until finally, I hooked into something with a little bit more weight:

Image
Image

Not much more weight, but at least it was bigger than the lure ha. I caught another one of these cool little gudgeons but we didn’t encounter anything more substantial, and when the light started to fade:

Image

And the freshwater crabs started to emerge from their burrows:

Image

We decided to call it quits. We hadn’t caught any trophies, but we’d snagged our first fish in Sri Lanka and a couple of new species to boot. Not a bad start! The next day we headed south to Kithulgala, where we went white water rafting on the Kelani River:

Image
Image

I was sure this river would hold mahseer, but unfortunately we had no time to fish. I did do some exploring though, and found some super cool wildlife, like this streaked kukri snake:

Image

Frog featuring guppy:

Image

Indian black turtle:

Image

Indian tree squirrels (which are everywhere):

Image

Termite gecko:

Image

This cool little dragon:

Image

And this wicked little saw scaled viper:

Image

We also visited a snake venom research centre, where they are developing various anti-venoms for several of Sri Lanka’s deadly endemic snakes:

Image

The highlight was this amazing albino cobra:

Image

Our next stop was Tissamaharama, where we would base ourselves while exploring Sri Lanka’s most famoust national park – Yala. This park holds the highest density of leopards in the world, meaning it was probably the best chance I would ever get to see one. This park is much drier than the previous parks we’d been too, and was dominated by sparse shrubland:

Image

We had two days in the park and on the first, we saw heaps of cool wildlife including water buffalo:

Image
Image

Peacocks (they’re everywhere in Sri Lanka):

Image

Wild boar:

Image

Painted storks:

Image

Super cute mongoose:

Image

Trees FULL of bats:

Image

Crocodiles:

Image

Heaps of land monitors:

Image

Lots of little green bea-eaters having dust baths:

Image

More hornbills:

Image

This cool Eurasian spoonbill (featuring crocodile):

Image

Lots of jungle chickens (fowl):

Image

But again, no bloody leopards. The next morning was our last chance and to be honest, I wasn’t too confident. I was starting to really dislike leopards. But I still got up before the sun, hoping but not expecting, and, surprisingly, it didn’t take long before we saw our first sign of one:

Image

A fresh footprint – we were in the right area. We decided to camp out at a rock face where a leopard had been sighted the day before, but an hour later we hadn’t seen so much as a whisker. I was ready to make a move when my cousin spotted something on the rock face:

Image

A leopard! Thank god. It looked like it was stalking something, and sure enough:

Image

A bloody big deer appeared on the top of the rock. We watched enraptured as the leopard approached the deer, with the deer in full defence mode, before the leopard thought better of it and slipped into the bush:

Image

Pretty amazing stuff. Exhausted but satisfied, we decided to head home, and on our way out we saw this guy chilling on the side of the road:

Image

Ha! We couldn’t believe our luck, and as we approached he disappeared back into the bushes (I really wish this photo was in focus):

Image

From Tissamaharama we continued our way south to the beautiful Bundala beach. On the way we passed several local fisherman:

Image

Including the famous Sri Lankan stilt fisherman:

Image

I was super keen to wet a line, so when we got a spare afternoon Dad and I jumped in a Tuk Tuk:

Image

And headed straight to the beach:

Image

Unfortunately, the only outfits we had were a pair of 2-5kg spin sticks with 2500 reels – not exactly ideal for spinning the surf. I decided to chuck on the heaviest lure I’d brought (a TN60) to try and get some casting distance. The beach looked super fishy and it didn’t take long before my lure was absolutely crunched. This was a good fish, and after a 15 minute fight that had me running up and down the beach, I landed this little beauty (apologies for the closed eyes, it was glarey):

Image

A nice little GT – no monster, but it sure gave me a workout on 8lb braid and in a 1-2m shore break:

Image

And it was just hooked:

Image

We kept flicking until the sun started to drop but had no more hits (what I would have given for a proper beach spinning outfit!). On the way back home we decided to have a quick flick off a little rock wall, and first cast I was on:

Image

A little long tom, which was lucky to make it to the rocks after something bigger grabbed him mid-fight:

Image

There were obviously some nice fish here, but it was dark, we were in the middle of nowhere, and we weren’t sure how we were going to get home, so we decided to call it a night. The next morning we made our way to Bundala national park, which is famous for it’s ramsar listed wetlands:

Image

And abundant bird life. We spotted heaps of cool bird species including common kingfishers:

Image

Rose-ringed parrakeets:

Image

Purple herons:

Image

Purple swamp hens:

Image

Little green bee-eaters:

Image

Red wattled lapwings:

Image

Heaps of Indian darters warming their wings in the morning sun:

Image

I was super excited to see this Asian openbill (if you look closely you can see the gap in its beak that is there even when it’s closed):

Image

This gorgeous pair of lesser pied kingfishers:

Image

Glossy ibis:

Image

A lesser adjutant stork eating a snake:

Image

And countless others that I didn’t photograph. There were also plenty of marsh crocodiles:

Image

A pair of giant squirrels (India’s national animal):

Image

And this black-naped hare:

Image

The main reason we came to this park was to see the flamingos which migrate there at this time every year, but unfortunately, the salt pans were empty:

Image

From Bundala we headed further south to Unawatuna, which, although beautiful, is extremely touristy:

Image

This area is famous for the resident blue whales that inhabit its waters, and we were super keen to see some. The next morning we were again up before the sun and after a short trip from Unawatuna to Marissa we were making our way out to sea:

Image

After a beautiful sunrise:

Image

The wildlife started to appear, including this pair of randy turtles:

Image

And more spinner dolphins:

Image

After enjoying the spinner dolphins for an hour or so the call was made to head out to deeper waters to find some whales, and it didn’t take long before we spotted a spout in the distance:

Image

We zoomed off towards it at top speed and made it just in time to see a gigantic tail disappearing beneath the water:

Image

How cool. We ended up following what turned out to be a pair of blue whales for the rest of the morning, getting quite close at times (check out the little remora):

Image

But after a few breaths, they would always descend back down to the depths:

Image
Image

It was an amazing morning, and something I’ll never forget. We had nothing planned for the rest of the day so Dad and I decided to head to a river mouth I’d found on google earth the night before and have an arvo flick. The biggest problem with fishing in Sri Lanka is finding somewhere quiet. There are people everywhere, no matter where you are in the country, and they are fascinated by tourists with fishing rods. So after a bit of exploring, which involved a very close encounter with a train:

Image

And several close encounters with the belligerent local cows:

Image

We decided to wade through a little river:

Image

To a little sand bank away from the crowds:

Image

This spot felt very fishy, and it didn’t take long before my double clutch was hammered and my reel was singing. After a brief fight my line went slack, and I retrieved my lure to reveal two very bent trebles – dang. A couple of cats later Dad had a hit too, and up popped this cute little trevally:

Image

I thought we were in for a ripper session, but all we could manage over the next 2 hours was more tiny trevs:

Image

The most excitement we had was when I spotted something swimming in the water while I was chest deep retrieving a snagged lure:

Image

Not knowing if there are crocs in the river, I got out of there quick smart, only to watch a giant water monitor make its way to shore:

Image

As the sun started to set even the little trevs went quiet, so we wandered over to a little rock wall for a quick flick, but all we managed was this beautiful little trout:

Image

But the sunset more than made up for the lack of fish:

Image

The next day was our penultimate day, which we spent taking the scenic, coastal route back to Colombo. On the way we visited a turtle hatchery and research station, where they have successfully released over 3.5 million baby turtles:

Image

These include green turtles, hawksbill turtles, olive-ridleys, leatherbacks, and loggerheads (larger baby in the photo is a green, smaller guys are olive-ridleys):

Image

Sri Lanka’s turtle population is being ravaged by poachers, and the only way local conservationists can save them is by buying poached eggs. They offer the poachers a higher price for their eggs than they can get on the black market, and then incubate them at the hatchery:

Image

They also rehabilitate injured turtles before releasing them back into the wild (first photo is a hawksbill, second a green turtle):

Image
Image

After the hatchery we made our way to Madhu River for a river cruise, but I decided to skip this and fish a little rock wall I’d spotted on the drive up:

Image

On my way I had a quick chat to this local fisherman:

Image

Who was collecting little baitfish in the shallows under the hopeful gaze of a couple of local cats:

Image

All this bait in the water could only be a good sign, and second cast my lure was crunched:

Image

A beautiful little trev, not a bad start. For the next hour and a half the bites came thick and fast, and although I lost more fish than I landed (including one monumental dusting), I managed to get a few up onto the rocks including this beautiful little fella:

Image

And a couple of gorgeous cod:

Image
Image

I (very) reluctantly left them biting and made my way back to my family – not a bad little session to finish the trip.

And that brings me to the end of our Sri Lankan adventure. It truly is a wonderful country – the beaches are gorgeous, the food is amazing, the wildlife is unreal, and the people are so lovely:

Image

I think this sign sums it up nicely:

Image

It really is a wonderful place - if you ever get the chance to visit it, take it with both hands.

Cheers!

Image



Remove these ads.

User avatar
Marty.A
Rank: Premium Member
Rank: Premium Member
Posts: 941
Joined: Sun May 31, 2015 3:51 pm

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby Marty.A » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:35 pm

Outstanding photo's mate I enjoyed every one of them what an awesome experience your having :cheers:

Basti
Rank: Premium Member
Rank: Premium Member
Posts: 2025
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:50 pm
Location: SE Melbourne

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby Basti » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:51 pm

it really is a beautiful place and i really need to go back and explore more. I've been back once in 25 years and i spent most of the time catching up with relatives i didn't know i had up north. I am amazed though that you were able to take pictures of beaches without rubbish on them.

Lightningx
Rank: Mako Shark
Rank: Mako Shark
Posts: 8840
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:21 pm

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby Lightningx » Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:55 pm

Top write up mate! Some really amazing photos! Thanks for sharing your journey :thumbsup:

User avatar
Broomstick
Rank: Premium Member
Rank: Premium Member
Posts: 770
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 10:43 am

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby Broomstick » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:15 pm

Cheers guys.

Yeah Basti the rubbish sucks, the beaches would be so amazing without it. But there are still some really fishy areas - if I had proper gear with me and more time to explore on my own, I'm sure I would have caught some ripper fish. But it was a family holiday, and unfortunately we stuck to the tourist trail for most of it

drew 2
Rank: Premium Member
Rank: Premium Member
Posts: 2455
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 3:38 pm
Location: North of the divide

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby drew 2 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:30 pm

Thanks so much for sharing :thumbsup: :thumbsup:



Remove these ads.

User avatar
davek
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4819
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:59 am
Location: nagambie

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby davek » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:31 pm

Epic post Broomy with excellent pics and wildlife I'm glad you enjoyed it, well done, :a_goodjob: cheers davo
It's an exhilarating feeling catching a fish
But it's an even better feeling releasing them

nooga27
Rank: Premium Member
Rank: Premium Member
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:22 am

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby nooga27 » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:58 pm

Awesome read mate and great pics! I'm in India now and will be in Sri Lanka next week! Glad to hear you had some nice fishing and great memories! I'm hoping to get onto some nice fish (but I also only have my small travel rod) - might see if I can buy something bigger in Colombo. Would love to get out on a charter too!
Red sky at night, Fisherman's delight

poodoo
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 3491
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 4:36 pm
Location: Somewhere in the East

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby poodoo » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:18 pm

Nice one broomie great pics n reports as usual

User avatar
Cornacarpio
Rank: Silver Trevally
Rank: Silver Trevally
Posts: 700
Joined: Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:52 pm

Re: Sri Lanka with my family

Postby Cornacarpio » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:21 pm

:good:


Well written/great photos. What more can I say?



Remove these ads.


Return to “The Rest of the World”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests