67 – Mirissa, Sri Lanka

Mirissa is yet another type of beach to those we’ve encountered so far in Sri Lanka – a very busy one. It’s the main jumping off point for whale watching tours and has developed to entice the travellers who stop off there to stay just one more day. The beach is packed despite its relative length – bigger than Tallala but smaller than Marakolliya. The sand is backed with bars, restaurants have tables sunk into the sand and there is always music.

A rocky outcrop rises from the sea and we walk out to it, wading through calf-high water before pulling ourselves up a set of jagged steps cut out of the rock. From the end of it you can look back at the perfect crescent of cerulean blue, or turn and look out at the horizon with the smashing waves breaking on the gold rocks below you.

We swim first to the left of this protrusion, where the water is still, flat and welcoming. The blue is graduated from just a hint of colour on sea through sand to turquoise and then a deep salty blue. It’s wonderful to actually swim, to appreciate steady water and the strength of your body pulling through it. There are boats moored here, where it’s more sheltered. After a while, we re-locate to the other side of the promontory.

Here, there are waves again. They are gentler than we’ve come to expect – or fear – and we can jump and be lifted by them before they break. As always, the cool is a relief from the relentless sun. Paddling, jumping, splashing, we take in the incredible colours around us and all the people enjoying the sun and sand. The rock we just stood on towers over us, colours quietening as the sun drops.

I’m raising money for the Alzheimer’s Society. Please sponsor me at http://www.justgiving.com/swimbonnieswim

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