Our Visit to Hambantota, Sri Lanka

A light breeze spritzed my bald spot as I stood by the aft railing mesmerized by this magnificent scene unfolding before me. I can’t remember the last time I have been so fortunate to be in the presence of this wide of a sunrise.

Today we are booked on a private tour (by private I mean not a HAL excursion) with a very determined lady from Cruise Critic. I can’t help but wonder how this lady will bring this about, since the group is quite large and our “Plan of the Day” states “a complementary shuttle will be taking guests from the ship to the exit gate of the port, 2 kilometers away”. I hate to say this, but sometimes getting a large number of (entitled) adults organized is like herding sheep! (Being a shepard as a kid, I know where of I speak.) Although the ships shore excursion staff do a superb job in this regard.

Bus owners in this part of the world like to “spruce up” the forward ceiling of their coaches ….

…. for our two kilometer ride to the main gate, where of tour would begin.

Remember that bouy in my previous post? Here is an image of the “other end”. Just thought you might be curious.

Today we would be treated to a Safari at the Bundala National Park ….

…. in the Southern Provence of Sri Lanka, where would observe the local wildlife in their natural habitats.

We saw, water buffalo and egrets ….

…. while Barbara scouted the plains/swamps from our 6 seat four wheel drive Jeep type vehicle.

Monkeys were everywhere, either scampering across our track or observing the passing parade from the tree tops.

Even monitor lizards were along side the track, heading for the cover of tall grass.

One of two Crocodiles, lazed in the noon day sun, taking the air to cool off.

An occasion dead tree presented a perfect outpost for the abundant wild birds – unfortunately they had all flown by the time I took this shot. Use your imagination.

Our Safari, officially ended at the overlook of a beautiful (deserted) beach on the Bay of Bengal/Indian Ocean.

This display of individual blossoms greeted us at the 5 Star Paradise Beach Hotel and Restaurant for our afternoon lunch.

Since Sri Lanka is so close to the tip of India, the culture has a heavy Indian influence, especially in it’s curry seasoned dishes. Ours was buffet and let me tell you, it was “diners beware” WOW – HOT, HOT.

As our mini-bus entered the beautiful grounds of the hotel, I spotted a “wall” of flowering bushes and trees ….

And hoped that I would have some time after lunch to get some images. Although the lighting was not the best, I managed these ….

I was amazed at how the top picture looked so much like butterfly’s sipping nectar!

As I was returning to the hotel, I noticed this “Cadillac ” of Tuk Tuks parked in the lot!

Certainly not the “workhorse” version that Barbara wrangled yesterday.

I just love the portrait mode on my iPhone 7, as it makes the blossoms appear to be falling like giant snowflakes.

As we were returning to the port, one of the animals that “might” have been available on the Safari – Elephants – suddenly appeared behind a fence along side the road – on the opposite side of the bus where we were sitting! Barbara might have got her shot, but I did not, well, you know what an elephant looks like.

I’ll close this edition with a couple of my favorite scenes:

Barbara as she prepares to attack a giant plate of crab legs in the Pinnacle Grill ….

…. and another beautiful (as best as I could get with the port parking lot in the foreground) sunset.

Tomorrow is another day at sea and tonight another 30 minutes of extra sleep, as we sail westward toward the Maldives.


7 thoughts on “Our Visit to Hambantota, Sri Lanka

  1. Speaking of snowflakes – we got a couple inches of them here at home last night ! And its beautiful. Your sunrise reminds me of the pearlized lining of a clam shell. And I love your flowery bus picture. Wow – that buoy is impressive! It’s the part we missed yesterday before you were shooed away. Great shot Jack. And your safari – what a surprise! The birds-in-tree pic is fabulous (all covered with imagine birds). The deserted beach would make a great computer desk top photo. Love your pink bougainville vines. I didn’t know they came in white also. Oh so pretty. Do you know our City Hall building has a massive wall of these in the back atrium? Like your “Cadillac” tuk tuk photo. And Barbara is the best of all. What a day you had ! Thank you for sharing it Jack.

    1. Jack, Ruth is missing you terribly in the morning and Barbara for shore excursions! We had dinner last night and were missing eating with you two… At least we get to continue the trip thru your pictures! Thanks for posting….

      Larry Burton

  2. I agree. What a beautiful sunrise! Wow, when you said “safari “ I was wondering what that would be like over there. I am impressed by the tour. I absolutely love the picture of Mom! Well today we have 8 inches of snow at our home. No warm safari weather here…LOL. Should be a very cold week here. Thanks for sharing the beautiful flowers. I think you should take up nature photography as a hobby. You find such beautiful shots. ❤️

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