Alden Boon

Luring a Giant Sea Turtle to Shore at Hikkaduwa Beach, Sri Lanka

11/08/2018

Chaminda peeled off his shirt, revealing a lean physique sculpted not in the gym but through arduous activities. Gripping a smattering of seaweed, he marched out to meet the roiling sea, his deep-set eyes glowing with fierce determination. He was a man with a mission.

I moseyed along Hikkaduwa Beach’s shoreline, relishing the massage of the lapping waves, the sand depressing underneath my feet as if mocking me. I watched as Chaminda dwindled into nothing but a black speck on the horizon. The quaintness was suddenly rent by a woman’s shriek, and then I felt its causation: a cold knee-high gush almost knocked me backwards — I, heavyset, and merely standing on the shallow edge: I could only wonder what trials awaited Chaminda. I looked yonder, my vision bleared by the briny spray that burnt, and there he was, many metres from where I was, sans a life jacket, thrashing the frothy waves that swelled and sought to engulf him. He leapt at the incoming waves turbulent and relentless, he sank beneath their weight before emerging again.

Giant sea turtles lurk in the waters of Hikkaduwa Beach, and Chaminda was trying to lure one to shore. A feat that sounded easier on paper. Unlike pet turtles, it is impossible to haul or carry a giant sea turtle. For him to succeed, he had to painstakingly and gingerly lead it while braving the ferocious waves. If not careful, the hard shell of the sea turtle, an impenetrable armour, carried swiftly by the tides, could crash into him and break his shin. The vast sea cloaks other dangers also: Chaminda has stubbed his toe against sharp embedded rocks before.

After what must have been fifteen minutes of very valiant efforts, he finally succeeded to ensnare a sea turtle with his seaweed in hand. He signalled to me (I was after all the one who paid for this activity), and at that, many other beach-goers clamoured to him like rabid fans to their idol. I marvelled at the sheer size of the turtle, whose shell blotched with black and yellow glinted in the sunlight so that it became an aureate colour.

Hikkaduwa Beach Sea Turtle Sri Lanka
Hikkaduwa Beach Sea Turtle Sri Lanka
Hikkaduwa Beach Sea Turtle Sri Lanka
Hikkaduwa Beach Sea Turtle Sri Lanka
Hikkaduwa Beach Sea Turtle Sri Lanka
Hikkaduwa Beach Sea Turtle Sri Lanka

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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