Sri Lanka,

Wreck diving outside Hikkaduwa

scuba diver fins cave

I am not a very experienced scuba diver and with very infrequent dives. It was more than three years ago I did my last scuba dive. Before that it was probably yet another three years. After I took my PADI Open Water license during my army service, when I was 19 years, old I have only dived about 10 times. The dive sites have been quite exotic though: the Azores, Borneo, Bali, Galapagos and Venezuela.

Since I have been diving so infrequently I felt nervous and like I did not remember what to do. For that reason I did a really useful “refresher dive” at the dive center meaning that you repeat the most common maneuvers you need to know, like taking on and off your mask under water. It felt good having that repetition before we went out on the first, out of three, dives.
1. Cave / Coral gardens

We knew our first dive was nearby but was still a bit disappointed when we realized we were going back to the rock formation where had snorkled the other day (and was not too happy about). The scuba dive was, however, much better even if the reef itself was not so exciting. One of the more exciting things we did was to dive through a tunnel shaped rock (“The Cave”) which was something new for me.

As a first dive in a long while it was, however, a perfect dive to do. It is a good dive for beginners and divers who, like

Sri Lanka,

Feeding turtles from the shore

feeding turtle hikkaduwa

We have now had a few relaxing days in Hikkaduwa, in the southwest corner of Sri Lanka. Hikkaduwa is a popular beach resort with quite a lot of tourists with a “classic” setup I recognize from many beach resorts from around the world, like Thailand. After you take a swim in the ocean, you obviously walk up on the beach, you pass the sunbeds you can see left and right, you criss cross between a few restaurant tables and end up in one of the restaurants and hotels that face the beach. You walk through the restaurant to get through that block of houses and end up by the road, with some intense, loud and life threatening traffic and pass it to get to the other side – where the cheaper hotels and guest houses reside.

That is where we live, because it is quite a bit more cheap (1.800 Rp / $9 per night) as opposed to beach front (4.000 Rp / $20 per night). It is really not far to the beach (300 meters) but it feels further away.

The other day we walked along the beach to a bay where green sea turtles come to the shore every day during low tide to eat sea weed. They are so used to people that you can feed them sea weed straight from your hand. A local guide is always present to help you out, answer questions and make sure no tourists touch the turtles. If you touch the turtles they

Sri Lanka,

My sleep deprived path to Sri Lanka

light backpack

At 3.30 a.m. my alarm clock rang in my apartment in Malmö, Sweden. At that point, me and J had only slept three hours and not all that well. Being excited about the trip I got up rather easily anyway. Having a great trip to look forward to makes you put sleep in second hand.

A morning flight later we woke up in Düsseldorf and yet another flight later, with sporadic naps, we found ourselves in Abu Dhabi. My sleep battery was at 30% but a proper charge of the same was still far away.

Sri Lanka Airlines brought us our “last” part to Colombo, Sri Lanka, where we finally touched ground at 5.30 in the morning. A bus ride later we were downtown by the train station to our final stop, Hikkaduwa. At this point my sleep battery was at 9% but I was extremely hungry so we walked into the first street restaurant we could find.

The restaurant was a typical street restaurant with plastic chairs and we were about to get accustomed to the Lankese street food. The waiter showed us the bread by literally sticking his finger into each of them while explaining what they were. We declined and ordered a curry instead, apparently marinated in salt. A rat ran over the floor while we were eating, running in underneath the sarong of a man eating, who did not seem to bother notably.

Our bill ended up at 450 Rupies which I, after some tired head count, calculated to about

About TalesOfTrips,

My travels and the reason for TalesOfTrips.com

christoffer björkwall

I should have started this blog 10 years ago. Well, actually 36 years ago. I had a privileged childhood and ever since I was a kid our family has been travelling and seeing new places around Europe. My grandmother used to live in Italy and my cousins outside Bruxelles, Belgium, so we did that tour in our Volvo almost every summer holiday. I loved sitting in the back of the car, reading comics, listen to my parent’s music (Dionne Warwick!) and Be On The Way.

During winter breaks we typically went skiing, often in the Swedish mountains in places like Katrina Klövsjö but sometimes in the Alps as well. It is fair to say that travelling was a natural part of my life when I grew up.

A major step for me was to leave the comfort of friends and family and move 600 km south to the old university town of Lund in the south of Sweden. I started studying electrical engineering and psychology and it was an easy choice to study abroad at some time. I started off with a year as an exchange student in Kansas (USA) and before that an amazing summer in Bratislava (Slovakia) as an IAESTE exchange worker. Shortly after my year in Kansas I finished my studies doing my master thesis in Quito (Ecuador).

When I started to work, after my studies, I went for jobs that would take me abroad. I worked as a presale engineer and support engineer and went on as many foreign