In December 2005 we went snorkelling just off the beach in front of Coral Sands Hotel, Hikkaduwa. We had very good snorkelling, and saw a good selection of fish. The coral was not in good condition, compared with other places we have visited like the Great Barrier Reef in Australia or Castaway Island in Fiji. But the coral is recovering. And Hikkaduwa has the great advantage that we could snorkel from the beach, just swimming out about 50 yards. We thought the tourist facilities might be limited after the tsunami, but everything we needed was available. We were snorkelling, but there were several dive centres with full facilities. So - if you are thinking of going to Sri Lanka - it is a great place to visit.
Of course people still have problems. We hired a boat to go out snorkelling by nearby rocks. The boatman used to own his own boat, it was destroyed in the tsunami, now he works for another boat owner. We bought handicrafts from a shop, all fully functional; but when we asked how he was affected by the tsunami he opened the back door of the shop and showed us the damaged buildings behind not yet rebuilt, and the remains of the stock of antique plates he used to sell. Fishing was in full swing; many fishing boats had signs on them saying they had been supplied by charities after the tsunami, and we saw boat-building yards financed by overseas charities. So the money people gave has been put to good use. And life seems to have returned to normal - there was a very serious game of beach cricket on the beach in front of the hotel. Our particular hotel, Coral Sands in Hikkaduwa, was busy with many visitors from Scandinavia.
On the right are links to some of my fish photos. I used a Pentax Optio WP.
Copyright 2006 David Hawgood
Sri Lanka - David Hawgood's photograph Page -
David Hawgood's Home Page
This page by David Hawgood was amended 4 Feb 2006