Ben Oostdam

May 3, Wednesday

(please click to enlarge)
I woke up at 07:00 and first saw what the place really looked like. Sjoerd was already out on the narrow beach, where several people apparently had already gone to the bathroom. There was a narrow ridge or reef nearshore, catamarans and glass bottom boats on the beach, several hotels along the waterfront.
While we sat on the verandah and were served a good breakfast, we were told the season had ended three days ago... Both Sjoerd and I wrote up our journals before we did our first survey of the day, marked as Hikkaduwa (km 32,448):

EMP 80503-01 - 40 x 10 ft - 50.5 g i.e. 16.6 gm-1
EMP 80503-02 - 55 x 10 ft - 07.4 g i.e. 02.4 gm-1
EMP 80503-03 - 40 x 10 ft - 00.0 g i.e. 00.0 gm-1
EMP 80503-03a- 65 x 06 ft - 24.1 g i.e. 07.9 gm-1

Next, we chartered a catamaran with two rowers who took us to the rocks and reef for R 40. We snorkeled and explored the fine coralgal reef, with Acropora, Porites and many such fish as Wrasses, Sergeant Majors, and Parrotfish. Some "Gepen"(Dutch) or "Tjendros" (Indonesian) - which names I recalled from the waters of New Guinea in 1952 -were skimming along the surface.
The water was pleasant and clean, but a bit rough. Our rowers enjoyed getting on top of two intersecting crests of refracting waves, extra high up! We were out for almost two hours, then checked out at noon, paying R 13.50 each for breakfast and a parting gift of a King coconut. Some European guests showed up by that time.

A more recent photograph of
Hikkaduwa Beach
by Ali and Matt

Parrotfish -Chlorurus

Sergeant Major
Abudefduf saxatilis

Stilt Fishermen
at Hikkaduwa
By Jeneggener

Albert chauffeured us along the coastal road southward and we picked up two female hitch hikers, one a bosomy gypsy juggler from California, the other a lovely leggy German beltmaker.
Our next stop was the town of Galle, which the Portuguese conquered from the Kings of Kandy in 1587 but lost to the Dutch from 1640-1796 from which period date the fortress, the stone wall and the names Leynbaan and Modderbaai. There still is a Nederlands Gereformeerde Kerk with a cemetery with Dutch gravestones.
I bought two VOC coins for R 10, and we searched for lace for our two new friends from which we parted here with some regret, kisses and promises..(we did not keep) but we still had miles to go before we could go to sleep.

south of Galle:
EMP 80503-04 - 105 x 6 ft - 7.62 g i.e. 4.2 gm-1
EMP 80503-05 - 100 x 6 ft - 0.00 g i.e. 0.0 gm-1
EMP 80503-06 - 130 x 6 ft - 1.50 g i.e. 0.8 gm-1

Both road and
railway track
close to the

EMP 80503-07- 100 x 06 ft - 1.1 g i.e. 0.6 gm-1

Ahangama easy beach:

EMP 80503-08- 45 x 06 ft - 0 g i.e. 0 gm-1

click for complete Weligama satellite map

island and

EMP 80503-09- 100 x 06 ft - 0.0 g i.e. 0.0 gm-1
EMP 80503-10- 105 x 06 ft - 0.3 g i.e. 0.2 gm-1

It started to rain now. We saw many old Portuguese names like "Da Silva", and were greeted by little girls who were playing hairdress saloon. At 14:50, we reached the southernmost part of the busy village of Matara where we ate some juicy and messy mangoes we bought for R1.20 a half dozen , before taking some samples along the open beach, which had black sand at the top and white closer to the waterline.

EMP 80503-11- 095 x 06 ft - 0.0 g i.e. 0.0 gm-1
EMP 80503-12- 110 x 06 ft - 0.0 g i.e. 0.0 gm-1
EMP 80503-13- 080 x 06 ft - 0.0 g i.e. 0.0 gm-1
hurrah: nice and clean!!

Next came the beautiful beach of Dikwella:

EMP 80503-14- 160 x 08 ft - 17.0 g i.e. 7.0 gm-1 - fine grain sand

followed by Tangalle:

EMP 80503-15- 115 x 06 ft - 00.0 g i.e. 0.0 gm-1

Now the scenery changed several times, from rice desas to sandplains with buffaloes and cactus. This is the dry zone of Sri Lanka and further along the coast there are extensicve salt pans. We persuaded Albert to continue driving till it was almost dark and we did our last profile for the day at the wide beach of Hambantota:

EMP 80503-16- 200 x 06 ft - 49.6 g i.e. 27.1 gm-1
very coarse white sand with some garnet.

We saw some old but pretty beach houses which Albert said would cost some R 40,000. tempted? We tried some glasses of toddy before going deeper into Hambantoto, up a hill where notwithstanding the rain and darkness we enjoyed a glorious view over the bay and a wide beach strewn with catamarans. We inspected a guesthouse which advertised for R 115 but in fact charged R 55 for a double room and breakfast of bacon and egg. We checked in, but had to go into town for dinner, which we took in a Muslim restaurant, paying R 10 for a good beef curry for three persons! After dinner we returned to the guesthouse, which appeared quite luxurious, cool, what with music, songs and showers. Around 21:15 we wrote our journals in a dining hall filled with Singalese.
I managed to weigh all tar samples and read the odometer (32544) before turning in at 22:00.

China to fund Hambantota Port Project - Dutch clowns tour after tsunami - India - China Waterway Rivalry
SW Coast thumbnails -Hambantota boats - BLO fecit 20100123 - next page - contents 1978 Journey