Hikkaduwa

Today was diving at Hikkaduwa. I wandered round to Rick and Kris’s home for 7:30am and enjoyed a good cup of coffee before we headed out in their car. I take my hat off to Rick for driving in the battle-zone that is SL’s roads. We dropped Kris off at The Lighthouse, where we had lunch a week or two back, and Rick and I continued the few miles to Hikkaduwa.

Having metaphorically doffed my hat to Rick a line or two earlier, I must do the same to Kris and not just because a gentleman always raises his hat to a lady. Tomorrow morning, she goes into hospital for her hip operation, which won’t take place until the evening, yet on the surface she remains calm and equanimous. When I asked her, she admitted to being a bit nervous – and who can blame her? – but it doesn’t show to the general public such as me and there she was, off to do a swimming session at the hotel’s Health Club. I’m sure she will be in the best of hands, but I think if I were in her hoes I might let the mask slip a bit!

Rick and I callously continued to the Poseidon Dive Centre. It is owned by the father of a couple of the lads at TGS and we were kindly offered a discount.

Whilst I’m sure it’s no more professional than the one I patronised at Unawtuna, it is a bit of a slicker and more up-market operation. We kitted up, checked each other’s gear and boarded the boat that would take us to the first dive site. There were about 12 of us: a mix of Swedish, Finnish, American, Scottish, Indian, Czech, English and Chinese amongst others. No doubt we had lots in common, but one thing we all did, within the limits of our English, was to tease Rick about the odious Donald Trump. In case there is any ambiguity there, I should make clear Rick and Kris are as anti-Trump as anyone else. But it was still fun to tease Rick!

Neither of the dives was spectacular, though both were pleasantly enjoyable. I still need to stop my “heavy breathing” and had to curtail my first dive after 38 minutes due to a shortage of air: it was only a couple of minutes before the rest surfaced, but irritating nevertheless. I did better on the second dive and managed the full 40 minutes or so. We swam though a small underwater cave: in reality no more than six feet between two or three rocks, but a small achievement all the same. In the water we were split into two groups and the others saw one (or more?) turtle. We didn’t, but I refrained from asking for my money back. The coral was probably slightly more plentiful and colourful than in Una but there were fewer fish, though we did see plenty of the common things (talk about blasé, eh!), such as kingfisher-blue “whitebait”, yellow, black and white angel fish, stripy zebra fish etc. All in all, a very enjoyable outing.

I should mention we came close to a smallish in-shore SL Navy boat heavily armed with a couple of guns mounted on the deck though they were wrapped up tarpaulins. Our boatmen seemed to be joking with the other crew and the Navy passed over a couple of packets of biscuits which we passed round. We didn’t even have to tap the weevils out of them.

After our dives, Rick and I sank a couple of beers, then returned to The Lighthouse to collect Kris, who seemed to have made friends with a mixed-nationality group of hotel residents. After being dropped off at R&K’s house, I returned to base and almost immediately fell asleep: it’s my age you know. Or perhaps the beer.

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