Sri Lanka: Pigeon Island

 

SnorkelingRain welcomed us. It was as though, all my stress and tiredness was washed away by the rain. From the moment I landed there to the time I came back, I felt peace; within and outside. The beauty was beyond anything I had dreamed about.

Sri Lanka was a miracle to me. From its beautiful landscape to the scenic rivers, from centuries old relics to the modern day buildings, from the delicious foods to the amicable people, the picturesque country made me fall in love with it again and again. I never understood Woods worth’s line, “a thing of beauty is a joy forever”, better than the time I vacationed at Sri Lanka.

It was a colorful ride. To me, Sri Lanka is a lot of things. It is the cultural dance at Kandy, the sweet girl at Nuwera Eliya who offered me flowers near a water fall, the Banana ride at Bentota, the Cave Temple at Dambulla, the serenity in the Buddhist temples and the sense of elation at reaching the top step of the Lion Rock.

The best part, however, was not on land. It was rather a venture into the deep blue sea. I have always been hydrophobic. I like going to the beach but if the tides are high, I restrict myself to a bench and just enjoy the view. My husband, on the other hand, is hydrophilic!! During our stay at Trincolmalee, he was overjoyed to know that we can go for Snorkeling. Basking in the love of a newly-wed, I couldn’t refuse and went along. Now I love him more for the experience.

A boat took us to the Snorkeling sight at Pigeon Island. The scenes were so breathtaking that I forgot my fears for a while. But the minute I was told I am about to be rolled into water, the idea shook me to the core and made me wonder if I was mad to have agreed to come here. I stood still as the guides prepared me with the snorkeling kit and wet suit, which consists of a mask and an oxygen kit that goes into your mouth for breathing – a simple mechanism. I was told not to worry about the fancy gadgets as the caretaker would take care of all that.

The moment they told me that I was about to be rolled into the water, my heart started beating wildly. On the count of three, I was falling on my back, holding my mask, looking at the sky and splash! For a second, I was overwhelmed by the fear of the unknown.

There was a moment of panic during which I couldn’t breathe properly, but the instructor soon fixed my kit. He kept me on the surface for a while after that so I could regain my confidence. Soon, the curiosity to discover the underwater world overcame my fear. The moment I dipped my head in, I congratulated myself for my courage.

The scenes under the water were breath taking. The refraction of light and green vision, startling at first, soon started to look spectacular. My gaze began to wander as far out as it could trying to grasp the entire beauty of the scene all at once. Fish traveling in shoals moved so close to me that I could almost touch them with my hands.

There was a kind of silence that words can’t explain, a sense of total tranquility and peace. I lost track of time, forgot that I didn’t belong there. I was in a trance. I came back to my senses when the instructor said we had to go back to the surface. He was surprised when I refused. After a few moments, he asked me again and despite my reluctance, I had to come up. As soon as my head hit the surface, I yelled: “I want to do this again!

If  it is one thing that everybody should get a chance to do on vacations, it is definitely a dip in the water. The deeper you are, the higher you go! Although all places in Sri Lanka give each other a touch competition in being the best but to me, nothing could beat the beauty beneath water. Happy Snorkeling travelers!!

About the Author: A banker by profession and a writer by choice. Twitter: @syedaerumfatima

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