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Galle - Bentota - Monday, 5 February 2018

Drive to Bentota and cruise along the Madu River and visit an turtle preservation farm

sunny 30 °C

Hotel - Centara Ceysands, Aluthgama - Mathugama Road, Bentota - Room No 1101

I had crunchy granola for breakfast this morning and it was just superb. Much better than trying to get my eggs cooked perfectly.

Before we left Galle, Sharon and I went for a stroll down the street. The guy was selling papayas.

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We hadn't gone very far when these ladies called us into their school to have a look. It was a Montessori school, badly in need of refurbishment but nevertheless, they showed us through and pointed out the posters in English and how they teach the children to count. It was a holiday so unfortunately there were no children there. But there was a lovely photo on the wall of them in their school uniforms. These families may be poor but they can always seem to find the money to buy school uniforms for their children. The ladies asked us to sign the visitors' book and kept pointing at the donation box, saying how poor they were. Sharon made a small donation but I didn't have any money on me. We hurried out of there just in time to join the others who had started to walk to the bus.

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We were hoping the Dutch Reform Church might open early (it opens at 9am) because our tour guide had spoken about it yesterday and we were curious to see inside, but it was not to be and so we boarded the bus with a couple of interesting stops along the way.

This is the Galle Cricket Club and Dudley said that Shane Warne had his biggest score here. I'm not sure if he meant wickets or runs, however, I do know that the Shane Warne Foundation donated a lot of money to the restoration of this ground after the tsunami. My husband has clarified Dudley's statement. Shane Warne (Australian spin bowler) took his 500th wicket at that ground.

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We are now in the area where the tsunami hit on Boxing Day (26 December 2004). Fourteen years later (I can't believe it has been that long), there is little evidence of a tsunami. This momument was built by the Japanese after the tsunami.

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After about 45 minutes we arrived at Madu River for our boat cruise. It is very hot and sticky so a cruise on the river might cool us down. This time we have life jackets, and after squeezing into them, we walk down a board walk through the mangroves to the pontoon where our boat is tied up. Dudley says that champagne corks are made from the mangrove roots. I thought they were still made from cork. Will have to check that.

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We boarded the boat which was a feat in inself. Some of us aren't too agile and Ron is totally blind (but he seems to cope much better than the rest of us!) Finally we were all squashed into the boat - three abreast. Perhaps it would have been better to have two boats as I believe that some people in the middle couldn't take any photos at all. After we passed under a couple of bridges, we could have the canopy up which made it a lot cooler.

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We went ashore at a cinnamon farm where we saw another short demonstration of how they make cinnamon sticks. It was good for Viv, Bruce and Terry to see this because they did different activites from us yesterday. The young guy also demonstrated how to weave a palm leaf. He made it look very easy but I'm sure it's not. Most of us bought some cinnamon then hopped back in the boat and cruised back to the pontoon where we had just as much trouble getting out of the boat! It is hot and sticky.

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Back in the bus, heading for Bentota and we stopped at a turtle preservation farm, right on the beach. It is the most idyllic spot.

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The owner of the farm buys the turtle eggs for thirty rupees each and then buries them in the sand and puts a marker stating the date they were buried. When they hatch out, they are placed in a small tank until the next lot hatch out and then the older ones are released into the ocean. They have a 10 per cent success rate, whereas if it all happened naturally, only one per cent survive. We felt an egg and then were allowed to hold the babies. It was pretty special.

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There are a couple of bigger ones in ponds there too. One has a very deformed shell and I got to hold him. Gee, he was very heavy. There was also an albino turtle there too who would not survive in the wild. We all took turns in holding them. We had to pay 500 widgets to enter the farm but Didier said that in his next tour, it will be included. This one was SO heavy and was not very happy about being picked up.

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This photo is entitled "Life's a Beach".

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And this one - "It's a dog's life".

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Back on the bus for the 45 minute drive to our hotel for the night, Centara Ceysands. We had to catch a boat across to the hotel. It appears to be on an island but the ocean is on the other side. Didier did say that check in wasn't until 3 pm, so we went in for a late buffet lunch and at about 2.30 pm, wandered down to reception to see how they were going with the check-ins. Half our group were given a room, but five of us had to wait until 3.05 pm before our rooms were ready. Didier wasn't very happy but there is nothing much you can do, they are ready when they are ready.

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Centara is a huge resort. Our room is just that - a room with a bed and a shower, though we do have a balcony overlooking the river and the town. After the fabulous boutique hotels we have become acustomed to on this trip, I am glad we are only staying one night in this one.

Sharon and John went back on the boat over to the town to have a wander around. They caught the boat when we were still waiting to be allocated our room! We decided to go for a swim. The pool area is HUGE. We found some lie lows and towels and hopped in the pool. It was warm. We then walked through the hedge onto the beach and went for a swim in the Indian Ocean. It was the warmest ocean I have ever swum in. I would have liked to stay in longer, but there was only one other man in there too, I didn't feel very safe and there was no one else on the beach either. So we went back to the pool just as it was starting to rain so we had the pool to ourselves. This seems to be the pattern lately - stinking hot in the morning and then an afternoon shower to cool it down.

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This is the view from our balcony.

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We went down for dinner early so we could check out the hotel shops. There are a couple with quite nice things in them. We checked with John and Sharon if they wanted to sell us any rupees but they had spent most of theirs when then went into town this afternoon. Tomorrow morning I will go back and buy three wooden monkeys dangling off each other. They are quite nice and the only things I have seen worth buying in Sri Lanka.

Didier was amazed that we had been swimming in the ocean. He asked the people at reception about swimming in the ocean and they said not to do it as it is too rough. Gosh! they don't know what rough is. Just try surfing at the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia and you will find out what rough is. The waves were so mild that you hardly felt them touching you.

We had dinner in the cafe where we had lunch. There was much the same food there but I always call those places "feeding time at the zoo" but I was pleasantly surprised. The people were well dressed and it wasn't a "free for all". Most of them are Europeans, I think.

Early night tonight. Off to Colombo tomorrow. Our trip is almost over. It has gone so fast.

Posted by gaddingabout 07:52 Archived in Sri Lanka

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