Upon arrival to Trincomalee we took a short tuk tuk journey to Uppuveli. In true Sri Lankan style the hosts at our accommodation, Orion Beach Way, greeted us with a very warm welcome.
Our five days in Uppuveli mainly consisted of soaking up the sun on the beach and enjoying dips into the much flatter seas of the North East coast. Our time here really was a mini holiday from our holiday!
On Pip’s request one evening, we headed out to the tiny beachside bars to see if anywhere was showing the England vs South Africa rugby match…to our surprise Coconut Beachside Bar answered her prayers. We intended a quiet evening, that is not what we got. We managed to accidentally see sunrise, make an Irish friend called Darragh, and completely write off the following day! The night was still worth it for the impressive sunrise and the addition of Irish humour to our group.
Uppuveli and Nilaveli are known as the diving spots of Sri Lanka, so we took the opportunity to go snorkelling around Pigeon Island. Along with our new friend Darragh, we saw incredible tropical fish and came very close to many of the not so small reef sharks.
In comparison to the beaches on Sri Lanka's southern coast, Uppaveli and nearby Nilaveli have avoided being overrun with tourism - mainly due to the recent civil war in the north. While there are not many other people on the beach, human presence is certainly felt by the amount of plastic in the sea and on the beaches. A short walk away from the pretty little beach bars, you can find countless plastic bags, bottles, cans, and even irons. One day we watched around forty men laboriously pull in a huge fishing net from the sea, it was an amazingly tiring venture that took them around forty minutes. As the net came closer to the shoreline it was clear to see that their catches of the day were plastic bags and bottles. Yet again, it was saddening and alarming to see the environmental threat that the oceans face. Locals share this concern, but it seems that both parties are at a loss as to how to combat the issue - Sri Lanka does not have the same recycling resources that we have in the UK, so even with a 'beach clean' the rubbish would end up either burnt, or back in the ocean. For the first time I also realised that not only does this mean a threat to marine life, but also to the livelihood of local people in small beach towns like Uppuveli.
One of the highlights of our stay were the fantastic staff at Orion Beach Way. They couldn't do enough for us, even outsourcing Diet Coke (post sunrise night), and cooking meals that weren't on the menu!