Its early morning and the sun has just risen throwing spectacular colours across the sand dunes, as it breaks through the white misty sky hovering over the horizon where the sea meets the spectacular sand dunes. The air is comfortingly warm and moist against a roller coaster ocean that reminds me of Niagara Falls. Even though it’s now just past six and half asleep, I get that excited rush as I see waves frothing up, exploding as they crash around like water monsters getting ready for the days water safari, with an army of white horses assembling behind them stretching out to the ocean’s horizon.
After a meet and greet at the beach from the Jetwing Yala life guard team I enter the deep blue sea it is refreshingly cool but not cold. Within a short time I’m in a mad unpredictable sea, like being at the fair ground on the ghost train roller coaster, I feel the adrenaline pumping as the waves come full throttle in leaps and bounds of many shapes and sizes. But for me this is just the challenge I need to get my blood racing and body firing, a chance to flex all those muscles in all kinds of ways and battle with nature in the raw.
I’m flanked by Hiran, a veteran of the water, champion swimmer, four years the national coach of the Sri Lankan water polo team, and with 25 years experience of lifesaving, so I’m in good hands. When asked why he likes being a lifeguard for Jetwing, Hiran answers “you get a very good heart feeling from saving lives”.
Now I’m a Spartan, slashing through rows of enemy lines against all the odds until out of depth, the current pulls me mercilessly down the beach whilst a large doubled up wave throws me into the ‘washing machine’ at top spin, only to spit me out again, in a foot of water, sitting rather dazed and stupid on the sand being firmly chastised ‘go back to the land where you belong’.
Undaunted, I return to the shore and grab a surf board with Hiran and we once again take on the great unknown the ocean in search of the ultimate rush of a 20 foot monster. But, like Sisyphus rolling his rock up the hill and never quite making it, but half the fun is trying as another wave rolls in this time over 25 feet high before breaking over me.
Back on the sand I hand my board back to Sisyphus to fight another day but the endorphins are flooding my battered exhilarated frame – the rest of the day will be a gentle delight of earthly pleasures indulging in delicious food, spa treatments under a tree by the pool and observing the effortless wanderings and beauty of the wildlife early evening in the countries most celebrated national park.