coast

Negombo's fish market and Pamunugama

Back in February 2014 I headed up to Negombo to rent a scooter for a week and explore the eastern coast north of Negombo. Before shooting off, I did stay in the area for a day though, as I wanted to experience Sri Lanka’s second largest fish market as well as explore Pamunugama, a slither of land south of Negombo that runs between the Indian ocean on the west and a lagoon on the east. 

beach

A view of the bay next to Negombo’s fish market. Once the boasts have come back in from the fishing, there is still lots of work left to do. The fish must first all be gathered from the nets and sorted. They are then brought back out to sea in baskets and rinsed to remove any sand before being carried to the market to be sold or auctioned off. 

Fish Market, Negombo

Despite the first fishermen already coming in before sunrise, work goes on into the late morning by which temperatures in the sun are easily above 30 degrees celsius. Luckily workers sort out the fish under make-shift tents which provide a bit of shade. 

barrels

Blue plastic barrels are typically used for storage. 

Football practice, Negombo

Children playing football on Pamunugama while the sun sets and smoke from a nearby fire blows across the pitch. 

church

Inside a Portuguese-style church being built on Pamunugama which is famous for its Catholic community. 

Jaffna Peninsula

Below are a few shots taken on the Jaffna peninsula in the very north of Sri Lanka. 

The landscape here is flat; so flat that along the the causeways and coastal roads, water and land seem to merge into one, neither element dominating the horizon. There are no spectacular vistas like those the hill country has to offer, and most of the few towns around are half-deserted. Still, these features, or lack of, only add to the singularity of a place which has a distinctive feel to it.

The goats and the boat

A goat walks along Point Pedro’s coastal road while other goats take a rest on a boat. 

Keerimalai spring, near JaffnaMen enjoying a swim in Keerimalai springs, part of Naguleswaram temple, north of Jaffna. There is a separate pool for women only. 

Casuarina Beach, Karainagar, Jaffna District

Casuarina beach on the island of Karainagar is one of the peninsula’s best beaches and quite popular on week-ends. 

Jaffna

Fishermen beat their fishing nets off the coast of Ponnalai. 

Mannar island

Mannar

Broken glass 

Mannar island lies just off the north west of Sri Lanka and is connected to mainland by a causeway. The most western tip of the island is only 30kms from India to which it was once connected.

The landscape is flat and barren bar some palmyra palm plantations, most of which seem unattended. Mannar is also famous for its donkeys, which aren’t originally native to the country. It is believed that they were brought over by Arab traders a few centuries back, as the smell of their dung kept insects away from the palmyra palm plantations. More modern methods are used nowadays and the donkeys are now mostly wild and often found roaming around Mannar town.

Mannar, Mannar island

Donkeys and the shadow of a palmyra palm

Nowadays fishing is the main industry of the island.

Fishermen, Mannar island

Fishermen from the small town of Pesalai clearing the nets of all fish

Mannar, at dusk

Mannar port just after sunset

Mannar island

Pesalai beach

Mannar has had a large Muslim population since the 9th century with the arrival of Arab traders. It was also once a safe haven for Tamil Muslims expelled from the Indian Portuguese Territory in the 16th century. However, during the civil war it was long occupied by the LTTE who drove the Muslim population out in 1990, most of which walked the 50 kms to the safety of Puttalam through Wilpattu National Park.