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Kalpitiya Discovery Diving

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My second week I chose the peninsula Kalpitiya as this would have been the route and turning point of the Aggressor. I thought this would promise some good diving and on the Internet things sounded good. It´s further away from the sometimes crowded tourist places around Colombo and Negombo and rather secluded or still not that much developed for tourism. From Colombo it took us 3 h to reach it all through Christmas shopping folks everywhere and no expressway reaching up. On the Internet I had found Ruwala Resort which looked nice. Ruwala is a lovely place in a beautiful setting among huge palm trees on the lagoon side of the peninsula. I had asked for a cabana, I just love to have my own space around me. This might not have been the best idea, it looked rather run down with lots of things to fix inside, fan, electricity, mosquito net, tap, toilet and shower installation. The whole place calls itself eco and rusty, where I absolutely agree on the latter. Eco I couldn´t find, AC and fan running all the time, plastic bottles everywhere. I had one full week without cleaning or room service so maybe this is one way to interpret eco. A fishy smell often blew in from the lagoon, same as out of the tap. They mostly cater to Indish or local clientele, so meals where for these guys taste buds even in the morning with rice and some curry lentil soup, which I just couldn´t stand. Mosquitoes were a severe and bad nuisance during dinner time. Burning coils or insect repellent did not help much. My web research had shown Kalpitiya Disovery Diving on the other side of the peninsula. With Keira the manager I booked some two tank dives for the following days. A 15 min Tuk Tuk ride brought me to their place. It looked primitive what they had built here. In 3 rusty containers I found dive center, shower toilets rinsing tanks and accommodation for dive guides. Same procedure here again, the boat is loaded and pushed in. Single weak engine and small boat with shades took us to the dive site which needed some time, as 2 x the engine died on us and was a bit tough to start again. They had trouble with GPS and had to turn around a couple of times to find the right spot called Davey. We dropped into brownish soup, vis worse than in Unawatuna, sometimes around 5 m only and water temp only 27 which you noticed in a strong wind after the dive. Fish life however was much better but you just couldn´t see. There where Napoleon around, schools of snapper, surgeons different kind of jacks and others, a bunch of triggers, near the surface jellyfish and some strange transparent creatures like a chain we call Salpen in German. Dive 2 Nisha Rocks same here, you just desperately long for some blue water dive with awesome vis diving in this soup. There was part of a fish net hanging on rocks, but I guess nobody so far cared to remove that. Climbing up into the boat on a small ladder managed to tilt the thing so much, it got steeper to get into and with the boat men coming onto my side to help did nothing to improve things quite the opposite. The dive guide Steve a Portugese gave a good briefing, underwater too often asked how much air I had – more than he – should recognize experienced divers and let them do their thing. They charge 80 € for a 2 tank, which I found a bit steep. His explanation, the dive center still needs to develop, where I totally agree with him, things have to be transported in from far away, which is expensive. Steve is doing a good job with his girlfriend there but you can only work with things you get. You wash your gear in an open area outside of the containers and leave everything packed in a dive bag. Next morning however I found nearly everything was covered with sand. Next day we went further out into the open ocean. A really huge school of dolphins were passing by. This was the only wouh moment so far on this trip. Dive 3 found us on a good sort of reef patch with nice variety and quantity of fish around. This we covered in 15 min then Keira swam along with compass looking for a next patch it seemed. This he never found and even turning back to the first was not possible, so we spent 30 min on a sandy bottom with some scattered rubble around. I got a headache on this dive, did not save air, so it might be bad air in the tank. On dive 2 I nearly threw up under water only gulping down some sea water helped to avoid that. Opening my tank for that dive pushed the button of my inflator hose right out and the tank was empty in seconds. Could not fix it and did the dive with a new tank without the inflator connected. Dive 2 was the same place as yesterday, so a repeat already after just 3 dives, puh. With the bad vis and the incident with my inflator I thought these are enough sings telling me to stop diving here, it´s not really worth it. Maybe I chose the wrong season for this vacation. The Aggressor I learned had done some survey here before starting their operation. I wonder if it will ever come to that. I doubt this cruise will be very much sought after. Maybe the whale watching or tech diving trip will attract more guests. I would have loved to dive the famous wreck at Colombo, a British aircraft carrier H M S Hermes however not in this vis. The next few days I spent with sightseeing walking along the beach, kayaking in the mangroves. The birds around here are amazing and the squirrels cute to watch. Kalpitiya area is known for good kite surfing and so far was more backpacker country. It needs to slowly grow to make it possible for a dive center to spend some money in building some nice place and develop all necessary infra structure. Asking for money but only offering the bare naked essentials is not the way to do things. I spent my last half night at Jetwing Blue, Negombo, a wonderful place with an impressive service and attitude. Due to an early red eye flight I only had booked a room in the annex across the street. This proved totally sufficient, no windows there to the outside but a nice room with all amenities of a good hotel. Rather touristy the surrounding but a beautiful pool and beach. In Colombo I learned that it was not the first cancelled trip of the Aggressor here. The reason was not maintenance on the boat which they told me but it seems they still need to obtain an official document and permit for this cruise. A real disgrace to the name of Aggressor what happened here.
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