The Urban Wanderer

Crossing Borders ~ Bridging Cultures ~ Traveling Responsibly

Dodgy Fish Spas and Baby Turtles

This post was originally from March 2, 2017
Waking up in a five star hotel ain’t too shabby at all! Its funny because there are some things (like the infinite pool that overlooks the ocean) that make you definitely feel like you are in the lap of luxury,  but other random things (such as our toilet) barely work. Such is life in a developing country.


A view of the amazing pool at our 5 star hotel (which I never used because the ocean is right there!)
 On Tuesday after enjoying the beach and swimming in the ocean a bunch of us took the train to another beach town called Hikkaduwa. It’s another town that was decimated by the tsunami but now is a thriving place where there’s tons of cute shops and cafes for tourists. While sitting there eating a delicious lunch with funky music playing in the background we decided that we needed to change our itinerary and come back to this town instead of moving on to Colombo with the rest of the group. Colombo is a concrete jungle and spending our last two nights at the beach instead sounds like a far better option.
The train station at Hikkaduwa
A shot of the juxtaposition of the shops with the Monks walking by
Yesterday we went on a river safari … but that sounds way cooler than it actually was.  The mirky waters are filled with crocodiles but we didn’t see a single one (which was probably a good thing). All we did see are a few birds and a couple massive lizard things, and that’s about it. It was a good time though because you couldn’t help but laugh at how ridiculous we all looked in the worlds most oversized and useless life jackets. The only thing that made it resemble a life jacket was that it was bright orange… I don’t think the little crushed up flotation pieces randomly dispersed in the vest could have saved us if we did ever get thrown overboard!
a Kingfisher
Our lovely life vests that probably wouldn’t save us worth a damn!
At the end of the ‘safari’ we pulled over at the dodgiest fish foot spa I have ever seen. Remember that this is a body of water where you can’t see the bottom and nobody goes swimming because of all the crocs. Probably a hot bed for hepatitis and bacterial infection – this spa was a floating dock that had nets in the middle where hundreds of fish swam and were ready to nibble at your feet. I remember seeing actual spas that did this fish thing in Cambodia but I was too chicken to try. So with Kris by my side we decided to give it a whirl! The fish here were not small like at other fish spas I’ve seen. These suckers were as big as your hand. Dipping our legs into the water was extremely freaky and the two of us yelping at the top of our lungs definitely broke the cardinal spa rule of peace and tranquility. Again let me reiterate that this was a floating dock in the middle of mangroves! Once we got our legs into the water those bastards came at us like nobody’s business. Sucking and chomping at our feet, it was hard to keep quiet. At times it would be ticklish and others it would almost hurt. I really don’t think these fish spas are meant to have fish this size! Give it a week and they might be big enough to chew off our baby toes!
After safely making our way back to land we were taken to a turtle conservation hatchery. This was super cool because the turtle population has rapidly decreased, so they are protecting the eggs while they ‘cook’ and releasing them back into the ocean. From November to March five species of sea turtle make their way on to the nearby beaches to lay over 100 eggs at a time. At this point either predators or humans take most of the eggs for food. The conservation will actually buy eggs from people and bring them back to the centre so that they can hatch safely. After 63 days the eggs hatch and there are separate tanks for each stage of turtle development that we could go and see. The first tank were babies that hatched only the day before. They had belly buttons and soft shells so we couldn’t touch them. The next tank they were three days old and their shell was hard enough that we were allowed to hold them. I saw a little guy struggling to climb out of the tank so I chose him to hold. BAD IDEA! This little guy climbed right out of my hands and before I knew it he had fallen to the ground. I felt so bad and to make it worse this worker man yelled at me from across the room. I apologized profusely and he’s like ‘sorry isn’t good enough when these turtles are my children’. Oh my goodness I couldn’t have felt more terrible.  Anyway five days after being born, they release the baby turtles back into the ocean. When they are placed back on the beach they instinctively know where to go and head out to the ocean. They say only 10% survive and grow to be full grown adults living up to 200 years old! I wonder if I gave my turtle a brain injury before he even got a chance to swim? 😦 Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!
Turtle eggs are tracked and kept under the sand until they are ready to hatch
Just a day old, these baby still have belly buttons
These guys will be ready to release into the ocean the very next day
This is me pre-dropping a baby turtle 😦
An albino turtle that was injured during the tsunami
Because we decided to part from the group early we had our last dinner as a full group. Again it is so sad to say goodbye to so many great people…especially our lovely guide Sam.
Our amazing guide and friend Sam

If you are interested in taking a tour that covers the places on my adventure check outG Adventures ~ Sri Lanka Encompassed

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Copy of Dodgy Fish Spa

Dodgy Fish Spa

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