Diving and Snorkeling

Sri Lanka is globally renowned for its diving and snorkeling tours. As beautiful as Sri Lanka is on land, it is equally matched with its spectacular underwater scenery. Beneath the waters of the Indian Ocean lies a separate world of tropical fish, coloured coral and mysterious shipwrecks. The southern coast of Sri Lanka is especially popular as it provides breathtaking underwater tours for all those who want to grab a slice of Sri Lanka under the sea.

 

Located 5 to 9 degrees north of the equator means that the Sri Lanka seas are perennially warm and when in season they remain at an inviting temperature of around 27C. Sea conditions are governed by the two monsoons – the northeast and southwest- permitting calm seas and clear waters along the south and western coastline from November to April and from April to October along the eastern coast of the island.Diving and snorkeling in Sri Lanka is all the more interesting because of the different types of reef that is found in the seas around the island. There are sandstone platforms, coral banks, boulders and rock cliffs that are found both close as well as far away from the shore. Most of the reefs found on the western coast are sandstone platforms. In the Soutwest and southern coast rock boulder reefs are more common as are small fringing coral reefs

 

In the south of Sri Lanka the best place to go snorkeling or scuba diving is in the breathtaking waters of Hikkaduwa, Weligama and Kirinda. In the west of the island is country’s largest reef ‘Bar Reef’. It is an 3 nautical miles in length and in close proximity to the town of Kalpitiya which is now commonly associated with dolphins and kitesurfing. However the most outstanding part of the island to go snorkeling or diving is undoubtedly at Pigeon Island, off Nilaveli which is on the eastern coast of the country. The clear turquoise coloured waters are full of fish as well as coral life making it a delightful underwater adventure. Four of Sri Lanka’s coral reefs have been declared protected areas. That is Hikkaduwa, Rumassala, Pigeon Islands and Bar Reef. They are under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance which comes under the authority of the Wildlife Conservation Department.

 

Hikkaduwa has an abundance of tropical fish and coral reefs and is considered to be one of the best places for diving and snorkeling on the Southwest coast. It also has a long standing diving school in the town itself. Weligama, which is east of Galle, is also an interesting spot at which to venture out into deeper waters in order to catch a glimpse of sharks and dolphins. On the Southeast coastal line of the island is the village of Kirinda which gained its reputation not only from the ‘Great Basses’ shipwreck and the Great and Little Basses reef but also through Arthur C. Clarke. At Kirinda he indulged in diving exploration in order to write his book, ‘The Treasure of the Reef’. On the west coast eager snorkelers and scuba divers  find the wide variety of tropical fish, reef sharks, manta rays and the odd turtle to be an irresistible combination, hence the reason the waters of Kalpitiya are greatly favoured between November and early May.

 

Come and participate in your own little underwater voyage. For diving and snorkeling in the waters of Sri Lanka is for both the amateur as well as seasoned enthusiasts.

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