Saturday, August 29, 2015

I Went On An Open Sea Motor Boat Ride!

This was the boat by which we were taken to the Lighthouse island via the open sea!
Beautiful beach but the sea here has got rocks underneath...
Click on the picture and you can see, or can you?:) our boat with 3 women near the horizon! My friend, Shail, had taken this picture from the shore!
Just one day before we left Srilanka, my friend and her daughter decided to go for an open boat ride to the Lighthouse Island...15 to 20 mts. distance from our Hotel, Taprospa Footprints, Beruwala.  This is called Barberyn Lighthouse. This lighthouse tower is situated in the Beruwala/Barberyn island. This is an island inside the Srilankan island (link).

We enquired at the hotel and they said that the boatmen were experienced and we will be safe to go on this boat ride.  You can see the fibreglass boat in the first picture.   The boatman who took us is in a green shirt! He assured us that we will be safe in his boat! The boat didn't have chairs unlike the one we rode earlier in the river Madhuganga...and the river was smooth...not even ripples were there! We, 3 women, dared to go on the high waves, just sitting on the benches with nothing except the side plain board to hold on to! When I noticed that we didn't have anything solid to hold on to, I became a bit nervous for a second...once the boat started, I forgot about it and just focused on not falling into the water! The boat was going above the waves and nosediving down and some 'thud' sound was coming! The boat was hitting the rocks which were on the sea bed at some places! But there was no time to worry about it! The boatman was going in 'S' shaped routes to avoid high waves and rocks...he said so! Thank god, we had life jackets! Then, we reached the island!

The beach was full of rocks but inside, we saw coconut trees, mostly and looked green everywhere.  No touch of us bad humans! We walked on a crude footpath which led us to the lighthouse.  On the way we saw a warehouse-like shed and two barrels which were used to store diesel, it seems.  The lighthouse structure looked new (it was painted recently, we were told).  It didn't have the sign of an old building.  It was built in 1928 by the British with stones and glasses shipped from England.  Wiki says:

'The lighthouse is a 34 m (112 ft) high round white conical granite tower. The lighthouse was completed in November 1889 and operated by the Imperial Lighthouse Service. In 1969 it was upgraded with the replacement of the old dioptric apparatus and with a pedestal rotating beacon (Pharos Marine PRB-21 sealed beam optic and drive pedestal). It was further modernised in 2000, with the introduction of a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) and is computer linked to the other major lighthouses around the country.

The boatman simply said that this tower was 135 years old and not a single glass (window) cracked with so much strong wind around in all these years.  I forgot to ask about the Tsunami stage.

Well, then we started climbing the 140 steps.  The tower is well ventilated and was not suffocating.  On top, it was a breathtaking view all around! With strong breeze pushing us, we walked around and enjoyed the view of the sea and the far off islands.
The Barberyn lighthouse island (Beruwala, Srilanka)...full of coconut trees! Small island (8 Km) but very beautiful! The lighthouse is visible in between the trees.  You can notice the raw greenery! Humans have not yet invaded this place! Only the lighthouse employees live here. Yes, visitors do come and go!
The spiral staircase which lead to the top of the lighthouse...140 steps! The windows in the tower give us enough light to climb up.  The steps narrowed at the top but was not suffocating.

The lights inside the lighthouse.  They rotate at night!

A close up of the 110 ft. tall lighthouse tower.  The green growth is not good for the structure, I feel.
View from the top of the Lighthouse...wind was hitting can notice the coconut trees bending to the force of the wind.
Another view from the top, but this is a view through a glass window! The glass panes are the originals which were brought from England in 1928.
We saw some peacocks and mynas, that is all.  It was very early in the morning, around 7 am then.  We returned back...with all the going up and down the waves, tilting on the sides, the bottom of the boat hitting the rocks and worrying if all of us were going into the water...but no, we returned safely back to write this post! This was a great adventure, really! Try sometime!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Foto Friday!

Click on the picture to view properly!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Elephants, Elephants And More Elephants!

I had been to Srilanka last week with my friend Shail Mohan, Dr.Meena Kumari and her daughter! This is the first time I am going out, out of the country tour without my family and I enjoyed it a lot! It was fun roaming around with WOMEN friends, taking care of just myself (!) in another country! Srilanka looks just like our Kerala, but is cleaner and with less population.  People seemed to be soft natured too and I liked the sing-sing tone of their language, whether it was Sinhalese or Tamil.

Our flight was one hour late on the first day and so we could not see much activities of the elephants like milk feeding, bathing  etc.  We reached Colombo and from there on our way to Kandy (night halt), we had lunch and then reached this Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage at 4.30 pm. It was only one and a quarter hour flight time from Chennai to Colombo! It was as if we were going to Hyderabad from Chennai! The elephants were returning from bathing.  It would have been fun watching them taking bath.  But....hmmm...Have a look at them esp. the one month old baby elephant walking in the front! Slowly, I am getting used to taking videos!

Elephants are returning after having a bath in the river Ma Oya..we were late reaching this place and so, missed them taking bath!
They looked very disciplined...going in a row!

This elephant orphanage is in a large area of 25 acres with 48 mahouts for taking care of them!

Elephants were seen inside this enclosure!

Many baby elephants were with their mothers...a separate enclosure was there for just baby elephants...

 Now, to wikipedia for more information about this Orphanage.  First, when I heard the name 'orphanage', I didn't like it.  Then from wiki I came to know how people here are taking care of them...really great work.

The orphanage was established to feed, nurse and house young elephants found abandoned by their mothers. Young elephants sometimes fall into pits and ravines in their quest for water during drought period. Other orphans have been displaced from their wild habitat by development projects or have been found abandoned before weaning, diseased or wounded.

The elephants are fed in their stalls. There is very little food they can gather from the premises of the orphanage except some grass. Large quantities of Jack fruit, coconut, sugar palm tamarind and grass brought in daily, form the bulk of the elephants food. Each adult animal is given around 250 kilograms (550 lb) of this green matter per day and around 2 kg (4.4 lb) from a food bag containing rice bran and maize. 

More than twenty-three elephants were born from 1984 to 1991. In 1998 there were fourteen births at Pinnawala, eight males and six females, with one second generation birth in early 1998. Since then till early 2012, 84 more were born at Pinnawala.

I had seen many elephants together at Vaikom's Seeveli but here, too many were there.

Thank you, Shail for taking me with you, here! I will never forget this experience!

Edited to add on 19th Aug.'15: My friend who accompanied me during our Srilankan trip, has written about how many hurdles we crossed before travelling to Srilanka along with beautiful pictures! Have a look!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Happy Independence Day To All Of Us, Indians!

Hear this song and you forget all the draw backs of our country, people and feel proud of ourselves! Whatever it is, we are definitely marching forward every year!

I always get goose bumps when I hear this song and our 'Vande mataram' song.



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