Margaritas on the beach …

On our last night in Colombo, we decided to visit the Seafood Cove Restaurant on the private beach at the historic Mount Lavinia Hotel (which features in the 1957 film Bridge Over the River Kwai)

Sitting at our table on the sand, only metres from the waves, sipping our margaritas, we were treated to a spectacular and constantly changing palette of pinks and blues as the sun set through monsoonal clouds.

Tempted by the fresh seafood on display, we ordered lime and chilli cuttlefish, garlic butter prawns and steamed whole Modha fish. All delicious …  and a wonderful end to our time in Sri Lanka.

Sharing our house …

We’ve arrived at the second last destination on our Sri Lankan trip, the idyllic Garden House in Habaraduwa just outside the historic port of Galle.

Even though we have exclusive use of the house, we are never actually alone. First there’s the dawn chorus of grunting chattering and crashing by a troupe of Purple Faced Leaf monkeys as they make their way through the garden …

Purple Leaf monkey
Purple Faced Leaf monkey

Then when we go down for a refreshing pre-breakfast swim we might be greeted by a frog or two  with the same idea …

Frog (or is it a toad) swimming in the pool
Frog (or is it a toad?) swimming in the pool

During the day as we sit and read, nap, sip on drinks or recover from expeditions we are serenaded by exotic and colourful birds …

Rose Ringed parrot
Rose Ringed parrot
Red Vented Bulbuls

And late in the afternoon we take turns in the pool with birds having their afternoon wash …

Swimming in the pool
Swimming in the pool
Fellow swimmers
A fellow swimmer

Finally as we drop off to sleep, safely shrouded within a canopy of mosquito net, there are the sounds of unknown creatures that snuffle and scurry in the dark.

A Sri Lankan Carpenter bee …

I spied this large insect at Yala game reserve on the beach where 47 tourists and locals were swept away by the devastating 2004 tsunami.  I was standing on the beach trying to imagine how such a peaceful place could in a matter of minutes turn into a scene of devastation, when I noticed a large insect hovering around some unusual lilac coloured flowers.  I followed it through the sandhills for some time. The glare of sunlight made it almost impossible to see what I was photographing, so I was thrilled to discover later that I had managed to capture this Carpenter bee.

Xylocopa tenuiscapa
Xylocopa tenuiscapa

It was the size of a small mouse, or perhaps a large gobstopper. Now I’m suffering from bee envy!

Monkey business …

Who can resist a monkey?  Even when they are tumbling and cartwheeling on your roof at 4:00 am they are still quite adorable.

There are three species of monkey in Sri Lanka, the macaque, the langur and the elusive endangered little loris which I will probably never be lucky enough to see.

Langurs are quite co-operative when it comes to being photographed …

As are the Toque Macaques – but they can be a little crabby so it pays not to get too close.

This is my personal favourite …

Pensive Toque Macaque at Dambulla Caves
Pensive Toque Macaque at Dambulla Caves