Towards the end of our stay in Arugam Bay we followed the advice of our Lonely Planet guide and booked onto the Pottuvil Mangrove Tour. The 5.30am alarm was a shock to the system compared to our usual post-10am wake up time.
The benefit of this unknown hour is that you share sunrise with an abundance of local wildlife. The lake was teeming with a variety of wild birds including eagles, pelicans and hundreds of kites. We were also lucky enough to see a couple of distant elephants and a water monitor. The mangrove trees themselves were also a big highlight as they seem to magically grow out of the water.
The tranquillity of the lake was also very memorable. Our guide silently and effortlessly paddled us around the large lagoon, with only a couple of fishermen as our other human company. The tour was a reminder of the amazing nature and wildlife that Sri Lanka has to offer, something that is easily forgotten in the more touristy surf town of Arugam.