Hikkaduwa is known for its coral reefs and beautiful coastline. The Coral Gardens Hotel (CGH) sits in the midst of all this, an oasis of comfort to its visitors.
|Nimal feeding the turtles
||Rosy awaits Nimal’s attention
Of late, a relationship that has been developing between a man and a seagoing animal that has evolved and survived for more than 60 million years, is becoming a talking point on the beach.
Nimal, a 49-year-old bachelor, once a pool attendant and fisherman, has become close to a group of turtles during his fishing excursions.
Rosy, an adult female Green Turtle now appears daily at the shoreline waiting for her seaweed feed. Nimal calls out her name and she responds obviously tempted by the seaweed in his hand.
Feeding adult turtles by hand is not a safe practice as these creatures have made the ‘Top Ten’ list of the world’s most powerful bite force of more than 600 pounds per square inch -- thus the hotel warns its guests to refrain from feeding the animals and to enjoy them from a safe distance.
The rendezvous between Nimal and Rosy takes place daily off the CGH and Nimal and his friends provide the turtles with an endless supply of weed to which the turtles respond helping Nimal to earn a small sum to make ends meet. They respect these animals and watch out for any over-enthusiastic visitors.
Sooner or later, Rosy’s instincts will trigger the need to migrate which these turtles are known to do, swimming over 800 miles from their feeding grounds. Till then, Nimal stands guard by the beach welcoming them every morning and bidding farewell late evening not knowing if they would appear the next day.