Water Activities

Canoeing

Whether it is taking an afternoon to paddle out and back or to spend an exciting few days exploring the length of one of Sri Lanka's 103 rivers, there are canoeing activities to suit every adventurer on this island. The abundance of lakes and reservoirs make canoeing or kayaking as it is known here, a popular recreational sport. This kind of activity gives you the chance to really enjoy the different landscapes, birdlife and flora. Do note that the more turbulent areas will require considerable skill to navigate!

Diving and Snorkeling

The island of Sri Lanka offers immense Scuba diving possibilities for beginners and the experienced alike. All mainstream diving areas have PADI certified centers and instructors who offer tours and courses. The best diving sites are often located offshore so you may have to take a boat to get there. Sri Lankan waters are home to large amounts of tropical, multihued fish, spectacular coral reefs as well as shipwrecks, which can be explored in true treasure hunting style. Hikkadiwa, Weligama and Kirinda have excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities and for those of you are based in the west coast, check out Bar Reef- Sri Lanka's largest reef, which is 3 nautical miles long and 1 nautical mile wide. The best snorkeling however, can only be found in one place- Pigeon Island. Located just past Nilaveli in Trincomalee, the waters surrounding the island are filled with fish, providing for a fantastic snorkeling experience. West coast Snorkeling is best from November to April, while the East coast is in season from May to October.

Fishing

As an island, much of the staple diet of Sri Lanka, especially in the coastal areas consists of fish. Both freshwater and seawater fish can easily be purchased from fish markets, supermarkets or roadside vendors. In terms of the economy, fishing is a vital industry. Many fishermen pass on the trade to their sons, making it a profession that lives from generation to generation. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Sri Lanka is a popular destination for recreational fishing. Both experienced anglers looking to score a big catch or for intermediaries who wish to spend an afternoon fishing and spend the evening enjoying the day's spoils, will find some form of fishing to enjoy. Even a multi day itinerary can be arranged. Inland fishing is easily done all year round, while deep sea fishing is seasonal. November to April is the time for the West and South Coast's while May to September is for the East.

Marine Turtles

The prospect of watching turtles is quite an exciting one in any country. There are at present only eight species of marine turtles that inhabit the deep blue waters of the world. Of these, a record five come ashore to Sri Lanka to nest, providing that rare and magical opportunity to observe the age-old ritual of egg laying and the heart-wrenching and perilous moonlit journey that thousands of baby sea turtles make towards the ocean. There are turtle night safaris where tourists can observe these ancient animals from a distance. The best places for turtle watching are Rekawa, Kosgoda and Kalpitiya.

Ship Wreck Exploration

Perhaps there is no experience quite as satisfying to a scuba diver than exploring an authentic shipwreck. Luckily for you, there are several on the coasts of Sri Lanka where you can do just that. Galle particularly has a few that have been discovered and possibly more to be discovered still, due to the fact that it was such an important point for trade and saw its fair share of traffic when it comes to naval vessels. The Admiral Floating Deck 23, supposedly the largest floating deck, ever built, found its final resting place in Trincomalee and is well worth a visit. The HMS Hermes in Batticoloa is rather special too. All in all, Sri Lanka can be a wreck diver's dream come true and as for treasure hunters, well maybe their dreams can come true too.

Whale and Dolphin Watching

Sri Lanka is ranked the #1 destination in the world to see Blue Whales in their natural habitat. Whale and dolphin watching is an immensely fun seasonal activity, which has gained much popularity in the recent past. Sri Lanka is situated smack bang in the middle of the International Whaling Commission's protected zone within the Indian Ocean. Twenty-Six whales and dolphin species call this ocean, along with the Bay of Bengal, their home. This particular adventure is available on the West Coast in Kalpitiya, along the South West Coast from November to March and in Trincomalee on the East Coast from June to September. Most hotels have their own boats or you can approach a private tour operator to experience these sightings for yourself.

White Water Rafting

The rapids on the Kelani River accessed by the bleary eyed town of Kitulgala is the place to be when it comes to thrill seeking in the water. The rapids here offer even the more experienced, a hair- raising ride, while grade 2-3 are suited for beginners and the intermediates. The town of Kitulgala's other claim to fame is that it was the location for David Lean's Oscar winning film Bridge on the River Kwai- which you will pass as you venture forth. A range of properties have emerged here, which you can choose to stay in or you can easily make a day trip out of it as the journey from Colombo takes only two and half hours. Rafting is possible all year round in Kitulgala. But for those who really want to get their adrenaline pumping there are a selection of tougher rapids on the Mahaweli River and the Kotmale Dam, which can reach grade 5. These however are seasonal pursuits

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