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My Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary adventure started with a very early wake-up call and a short drive from Tangalle to Kalametiya.

I am definitely not a morning person, so I was deeply sceptical about having to wake up so early. ‘Why?’ I asked myself. ‘Why do I have to wake up so early? I bet it’s not worth it’ I thought as I was trying to get over it and keep my eyes open!

And then…I arrived! And everything changed! Not only could I keep my eyes open, but I was scared to even blink out of fear that I could miss out on all that beauty around me.

Before I even hop on the paalam paaruwara, a traditional raft made by locals and our means of transport for the following few hours, I realised that I was about to have one of the most beautiful mornings of my life.

Mangroves, apple mangroves, water lotus, water hyacinths and a few colourful birds including painted stork, parrots, and peacocks: all of them seemed to float so elegantly. And somehow, it made me feel like I am floating too.

The sun was out by now. The gentle sunlight made every colour around me so vivid, so intense so alive. And together with the morning mist mixed with the soft silence, everything seemed to be straight out of a fairy tale.

As we kept floating, some apple mangrove flowers caught my attention. ‘Look at those beautiful flashy pink-purple petals’ I said out loud. Indeed, there they were. So beautiful and exotic. They really stood oud adding a splash of colour to the green background. ‘Did you know that their flowers only last for an hour or so? Soon they start losing their petals to end up completely gone by the end of the day’ my guide said.

Obviously, I did not know! I was a bit shocked for a minute as I could not believe that such a beautiful flower can only bloom for a couple of hours…’all this beauty wasted’ I thought.

No. It was not a waste. It’s nature’s way to show us how precious every minute is. It’s a beautiful reminder to live and enjoy every moment, the entire beauty of it, the little colourful splash that is hidden in every minute of our life. Exactly like these pink-purple flowers were hidden behind the green mangroves. Because sooner or later, the moment will pass, and it won’t come back.

And with this exact thought I ended an unforgettable February morning that will always bring back happy memories and a huge smile on my face. Truly unforgettable with all the essence of the world.

I can now say it with certainty: there is no better place than Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary to see the sunrise, to fall in love with the sounds of nature, to calm your thoughts and your overactive mind. Thank you, Sri Lanka, for this little unexpected gem.

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