A Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist and a Hindu all took a tour on a boat. It’s not often that this happens anywhere in the world. It was our own little multi-ethnic river ride.
Trincomalee is the largest town on the East Coast of Sri Lanka, having been built up because of its naval strategic importance and deep-water port. Like much of the East coast it has a wild and rugged beauty coupled with limited industrial development. Trincomalee is famous for its crystal clear waters and fantastic snorkeling. We came in the off-season so we had to settle for a tour of the estuaries instead of finding nemo on a beautiful reef.
As we made our way down the river we stopped off at a small village which was the home of the boat driver. People are tough in the East, they survived 30 years of war, live off the land and are constantly battling to make a good harvest and 10 years ago were hit by the tsunami.
One of the biggest issues they face is crop destruction from elephants. Elephant human conflict is a big issue in Sri Lanka, with farmers always on the watch for herds of wild elephants who could trample their crop in a matter of minutes and wipe out their seasonal income. In many villages a person will be on the lookout for elephants 24 hours a day. They sit at their lookout in a tree top platform and throw firecrackers to ward off any elephants that come too close.
Our estuary tour finished with a spot of fishing, with the hope of snagging a big one to take back to the hotel. Needless to say we were not very successful and the biggest fish was the size of my finger. No matter what religion you are, when the fish don’t bite they don’t bite for anyone.