What are moonstones? Semi-precious stones found in Sri Lanka.
Along the coast between Galle and Colombo there are many interesting places to visit. In and around Meetiyagoda there are several moonstone mines.
One can visit a mine one belonging to Baruwallage Gems. Most of the mining is done by hand. Workers dig in deep pits using candles for light.
The candle acts like a canary in other types of mining. If the oxygen is at an unsafe level the candle goes out.
Once the bucket of dirt is brought up it is washed and potential gem stones are removed. In the adjacent factory the stones are cut, polished and mounted.
The ones with a blue hue are the most favored.
Marine Turtles of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has five species of marine turtles, many of which are on the endangered list.
At the Sea Turtle Hatchery Mr. Fernando explains the process of getting the eggs from the beach, incubating them, and then raising them until it is time to return the turtles to the sea.
The females are kept in protective custody until they are five years old and able to survive. Once a female is about 20 years old it will come back to the beach where it was hatched to lay her eggs in the sand and then she leaves.
The unprotected ping pong-like eggs are easy prey for birds and other animals so they are rescued and cared for at the hatchery.
They also keep turtles that have been injured (mainly in fishing nets), are blind (1 in every 1,000 is born blind) and they also have a rare albino one.
The entire hatchery was washed away in the 2004 tsunami and has been rebuilt with the help of donations from visitors.
The Madu River boat trip
You can see huge river monitors relaxing under a bridge, young lads rowed out to show us their pet monkey, passed thru many fish farms, and boated through some mangroves.
Your first stop is at Cinnamon Island where you can learned about growing and harvesting cinnamon, Then you will stopped by a 200-year-old temple.
At tilapia fish farms you can have a fish massage, which means the fish nibbled at the skin on our feet.
(Good grief will these fish then be served in a restaurant.) It was very ticklish.