Robin's Adventures

Sri Lanka
The Pearl of the Indian Ocean

Wood Carving Shop

While wandering through the streets inside the fort we happened upon a very interesting shop that displayed locally made wood crafts. We actually brought home a beautifully carved head of a Sri Lankan elephant.

Seen about Town

There were some things that we saw about town during our wanderings that struck our sense of whimsy, including a street sign that prohibits trumpet playing.

Madu River Cruise

The Madu River runs through a costal wetland ecosystem that consists of an estuary and an assortment of mangroves. We spent the afternoon on a river safari which allowed us to explore the mangroves and the plants and animals living in this ecosystem.

Along the River

There were quite a few homes along the river where fishermen and their families lived in close proximity to their place of business.

There are also a couple of shrines on the river. One, which is located on the smallest island in the river which is called Satha Paha Duwa or Five Cent Island, is a small shrine dedicated to the Buddhist deity Kataragama. In addition, we saw a large sitting Buddha statue along the riverbank.

River Wildlife

We saw a few old friends along the river, such as the Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus), the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis), and some Little cormorants (Microcarbo niger).

We also saw a bee hive and some very interesting bracket fungus (Pycnoporus sp.) on a tree stump.

More River Inhabitants

One of the more unique things that we saw was some freshwater blue jellyfish (Craspedacusta sowerbii).

We also saw quite a few places where prawn traps were set up. The traps are set in the river with long bamboo fences that block the path of the prawns and direct them towards the trap. At night, there is a light in the trap to lure the prawns. Each morning, the fishermen go to the traps to collect their catch. We noticed quite a few egrets hanging out by the traps hoping to catch a few of the prawns for their lunch.

There were also quite a few Water Monitors (Varanus salvator) along the river.

Boat Safari

Sea Turtle Center

The Sea Turtle Research and Conservation Center that we visited was established in 1978 and works to ensure the survival of turtles by collecting eggs, providing a safe place for them to hatch, and then releasing the turtles back into the ocean. The center also cares for turtles that are sick or injured and provides a home for some albino turtles that would be unable to survive in the wild.

Playful Turtles

We had an opportunity to interact with some turtles that were only three days old. They were surprisingly strong and very squirmy. It was interesting to see the egg that the turtles hatched from. It was about the size and shape of a ping pong ball.

In addition, we got to interact with an adult green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). The turtle's name is based on the color of the fat deposits under its shell. This green fatty part of the turtle was, at one time, a key ingredient in turtle soup.

Colombo City Sights

Colombo is the largest city in Sri Lanka and it is also the financial capital. Some of the sights we saw while touring the city included Independence Memorial Hall, Colombo's Municipal Council or Town Hall Building, and the International Conference Hall.

We also saw the 1,150 foot tall Lotus Tower, which is the tallest self-supported structure in South Asia. In addition, we saw the National War Memorial, the Parliament Complex, a large golden Buddha in Vihatamahadevi Park, and the National Performing Arts Center.