After hours of putting one foot in front of the other, stomping up stairs, I was nearing my goal. I was in southern Sri Lanka and a holy pilgrimage had pulled me out of bed in the middle of the night. I was surrounded by the faithful, making their climb to the top of Adam’s Peak in duty to their deities. But the only absolution I sought, was with the rising sun. Soon, the darkness began to break and shapes came into focus across the hazy horizon. The eternal battle between night and day waned, as fiery light shattered the blackened battlefield.
I spent a week in a beach bungalow on the island of Zanzibar. Each day I would walk up and down the white sandy shore. I read numerous books and drank cheap cold beer.
Most mornings, I would set my alarm clock, roll out of bed and head down to the shore by the light of my headlamp. The beach was covered in tiny white crabs that scattered when I hit them with my beam of light. After I ensured I was in a crab free zone, I sat on the cool sand and waited for the sunrise spectacle. It never disappointed.
- Tanzania – Zanzibar, Spices, Silk and Slaves July 2013 (pamelafruin.wordpress.com)
- Zanzibar (leshastravelblog.wordpress.com)
Four hours later and I was standing on top of Adam’s Peak in southern Sri Lanka. I had woken up just before 2 AM to get ready for the climb to the top. My belly was still adjusting to the curry diet and the first few kilometres were a challenge. As I picked up the pace and powered ahead of my friends, the curry induced cramping subsided and my legs sprang forth on autopilot. Before long, I was reunited with my friends, standing immobilized in a lineup of thousands of pilgrims, all eager to make the peak before the sun. We waded through the crowds towards an overhanging ledge that we were able to hoist ourselves onto, a perfect viewing platform. We sat in huddled silence, snacking on shortbread and listening to the rhythmic banging of drums by Buddhist monks. The heavy clouds clung to the valleys as the sun prepared to break the blackness.
- Hatton (sandyandjessgoplaces.wordpress.com)
- Five things to know about Sri Lanka (metro.co.uk)
- Adam’s Peak (ශ්රී පාදය “Sri Paadaya”) (islandsrilanka.wordpress.com)
After a day of beach baseball, frisbee, football, swimming and fishing, it was time to crowd around a fire and relax. We wrapped fresh fish in tin foil seasoned with olive oil, cracked pepper and fresh lemon, then placed the wrapped fillets on the grill over the crackling coals. The sun dipped down and the stars came into the night sky as we munched on the tender mackerel.
We were warm in our sleeping bags as we fell asleep beside the retracting heat of a dying fire. It wasn’t long before the heat came back, albeit from a different source burning 150 million kilometres away, rising into the morning sky.
As the sun set over the Indian Ocean, I walked along Cottesloe Beach in Western Australia. It was so hot that people kept running in long after the sun had left on its journey to bring beautiful sunsets and sunrises to rest of the world.
It was 6 in the morning when our taxi showed up at our beachside hotel. We were wiping the sleep out of our eyes as we climbed into the back seat of the van. We buckled up and headed down the road along the coast towards Paje in eastern Zanzibar. We prepared our gear at the Buccaneer Dive Shop (http://www.buccaneerdiving.com/) and were soon headed out onto the Indian Ocean.
Joined by divers from around the world, we climbed into a small boat (the one seen above) and headed out past the reef wall. The swells were immediately big. Waves crashed over all sides of the boat, soaking us from head to toe. I looked around and noticed a few of the divers were looking a bit seasick, including my friend Sophie.
We prepared to make our entry and flipped over the side of the boat. As we descended down to 20 meters, the swells rocked us back and forth. We were diving along when all of a sudden I had a tap on my shoulder. I looked over to see Sophie’s eyes darting back in forth in a panic. She made the signal to ascend and I signalled back that we were too deep. Not a second later, fluorescent yellow streams of puke raged forth through the regulator, to live as fish food. Sophie looked at me, regained her composure and kept on diving for another 40 minutes.
When we finished our first dive, we ascended and were promptly picked up by the boat. Back on board, the seasickness had not abated and she was not alone. A few of the others were also not looking so hot. As I rubbed Sophie’s back as she tried to master her domain, two giant humpback whales breached not far from our boat. They shot plumes of water out their blowholes and were gone as quickly as they’d come. But something had caught my eye. Shot into the air in the midst of all that water, I could have sworn I saw fluorescent yellow speckles.