February 7th ~ Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
What a wake up we got! Monkeys jumping on our roof. Bang, bang, thump, pound, clang. I think we heard thirty or more of them over a span of about five minutes. Not your normal alarm clock.
We loved every bit of it!!!
A hearty breakfast was served on the second story of the main lodge. Even here in the middle of nowhere, signs were posted about the Coronavirus.
It had been dark when we arrived the previous evening. With the morning free, we set out to explore and enjoy the compound.
Our bungalow was a duplex style, with two units back to back. Each place had their own private deck.
The pool was warm. I dangled my feet in the water for a while but did not swim. It was soothing.
Just beyond the pool was the lake, complete with viewing platform.
We had been warned to not go too close to the water as “untamed” crocodiles were in the water. One of the park guides offered to show us some of the crocs. One was in the water right in front of us, and two big boys were sunning themselves on the shore.
On the other side of the hotel property was the Indian Ocean.
Signs warned of wild critters roaming as well as the water was rough, sharp drop off, and unsafe to enter.
Not very hospitable environment we found ourselves in…
Still it was incredibly beautiful and a far cry from our day-to-day life in California.
Loaded into 4×4 vehicles with six of us in the back of each one, we headed off on what I expected to be one of the highlights of our entire trip.
Talk about a ROUGH ride! The dirt roads had not been plowed, scraped or resurfaced since the monsoon season and deep ruts and large pot holes were everywhere. We bounced from side to side and a good chiropractor could have made a small fortune off of all of us upon our return.
At one point we thought we were going to overturn and Kris landed on my lap.
Onward we went.
Well, it turned out OK but not great. We did see a few animals, and if one had never been on a safari in Africa, it might have been thrilling.
The highlight was spotting a leopard for all of two seconds. I think our jeep was the only one from our group who did get to see it. Tim and I both tried to get a picture, but it disappeared far to quickly.
We have seen many a peacock over the years, but seeing them in abundance in the wild was nice.
Two birds I had not seen before were a treat. I certainly needed a longer lens though to do justice to them. We had left our good cameras and lens at home this trip. I was simply using my Sony Rx100 V and Tim his cell phone.
A few elephants were seen trying to camouflage themselves in the bushes, some Ceylon spotted deer, a group of large Sambar deer across a pond, several monkeys, a wild boar and more water buffalo rounded out the drive.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that I got to see a leopard in the wild, if only for a moment.