Sri Lanka – Day 2 (Turtle Hatchery and Spice Garden)

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Today we woke up to an idyllic, clear and blue Sri Lankan sky. The stuff of postcards. A total surprise because the weather forecast was supposed to be 60% chance of rain all week.

We started the day with breakfast at our hotel which was satisfying and delicious – it was an “English breakfast” (eggs, bacon, sausage, beans, grilled tomato) – but disappointing as I wanted the Sri Lankan breakfast of red string hoppers and curry but that option was not available.

Could it be because we are the only guests in the hotel? Very odd that there are no other guests since I had a hard time booking a hotel room because all of the nicer hotels on the South West coast were full.

After breakfast, we were picked up by our driver in a van to transport us to the Turtle Hatchery. We took Little Ginger’s stroller with us onto the van but never ended up using it because the gravelly paths at the turtle hatchery and spice garden weren’t conducive to a stroller so she ended up in her baby carrier.

Sri Lanka Turtle Hatchery

The hatchery pays 20 Sri Lankan rupees to fishermen for each turtle egg that is brought to them. They then bury them in the sand and when the eggs hatch, the male turtles are released into the sea after 3 days.

Sri Lanka Turtle Hatchery

Because only 2% of turtles that are born are female, they keep the females for 5 years before releasing them to increase their rate of survival in the wild.

Sri Lanka Turtle Hatchery

Wee Scotch had a fantastic time at the hatchery. He enjoyed being able to hold and pet the baby turtles. He wanted to do it over and over and over again.

And he couldn’t understand why we couldn’t help the albino turtle by “painting” it green:

Sri Lanka Turtle Hatchery

Little Ginger slept through the whole experience in her baby carrier:

Sri Lanka Turtle Hatchery

Next we went to a Spice Garden where it was interesting to see the plant origins of many common spices like vanilla, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper. They weren’t too pushy about selling products made from their spice garden and Scotch ended up buying a small bottle of cinnamon oil.

Sri Lanka Spice Garden

We had lunch at Aida – a jeweler, guesthouse, and restaurant overlooking a beautiful lake. We picked out 2 fresh fish and 2 large crabs that were obtained this morning – not sure if that meant they were caught this morning or that they were purchased from the market this morning.

Sri Lanka - Lunch at Aida

The fish were made into a grilled dish and a coconut fish curry which were both okay (too boney) but the chilli crab dish was just amazingly flavorful.

Sri Lanka - Lunch at Aida

Sri Lanka - Lunch at Aida

Unfortunately, when I left the table to take Wee Scotch to the bathroom, the waiter cleared away my unfinished chilli crab platter probably thinking I had finished.

Sri Lanka - Lunch at Aida

Even though all that was left was the sauce, I was looking forward to spooning all that garlicky spicy red goodness onto my plate of white rice to further enjoy its flavors.

We had dinner back at our hotel. The food tonight was unfortunately underwhelming but the waiter did promise that red string hoppers would be available for breakfast the next morning. Yay!

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  1. The hatchery was a really great place – especially for the kids. Lots of interesting trivia and information about turtles and their natural survival needs. They are doing great work down there.