Stilt Fishing – a unique attraction on the shores of Sri Lanka!

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Stilt Fishing – a unique attraction on the shores of Sri Lanka!

Stilt fishing is a method of fishing unique to the island of Sri Lanka. The fishermen sit on a cross bar called a petta tied to a vertical pole and driven into the sand a few meters offshore. From this high position, the fishermen casts their lines and wait until a fish comes along to be caught. One may assume this to be an ancient practice with an engaging history, but stilt fishing is actually a recent tradition.

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The practice is believed to have started some 70 years ago during World War II; when food shortages and overcrowded fishing spots prompted some clever men to try fishing on the water. At first they started fishing from wrecks of capsized ships and downed aircraft, then some began elevating their stilts in coral reefs. The skills were then passed on to at least two generations of fishermen living along a 30 km stretch of southern shore between the towns of Unawatuna and Weligama.

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The practice is unlikely to last much longer other than as a tourist attraction as the catch is pretty much always meager. The 2004 tsunami that devastated much of the Indian Ocean coastline forever altered the Sri Lankan shoreline and reduced access to fish using this method. Fishing also stops entirely during the annual monsoons. The best time is when the currents are flowing in the right direction; which is mostly between October and December during sunset. And the sunsets are as beautiful as ever, which makes for amazing photographs!

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Today, few fisherman are willing to pass their stilts to their sons, instead renting them to “actors” who pose as fishermen for photographers and tourists. Definately one of the many attractions to check out on the spectacular island of Sri Lanka!

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-Karen Bahri

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About kbahri114

Hi! I'm an outgoing, bubbly New Yorker of Indian origin. I grew up in a Punjabi home and was raised with Hindu traditions in America. I am extremely in touch with my Indian roots and am thankful to have had been taught about my culture while growing up, which is why I have a great appreciation towards my culture and like to share it with others as well as learn about different cultures. At one point in my life I came to the realization about how we have been blessed with the gift of life on the planet earth. When I'm 90 years old lying on my death bed looking back at my life, I want to make sure I took full advantage of my life and explored this amazing world we live in! I knew traveling was something I had to start doing. I'm not the type to live in a bubble my entire life. I've always been intrigued by the world and different cultures. I have always wanted to explore and see as much of the world as I can! Life is all about experiences, meeting people, learning new ways and concepts and taking risks. I'm also very fond of photography, fashion, shopping, having fun, being loud, laughing and cracking crazy jokes, music and dance (I used to dance traditional for festivals back during the school days). This blog is meant to be fun & entertaining but it also provides my personal experiences and what you might expect to discover while traveling. It also will include random thoughts and stories since a kaleidoscope is meant to be a colorfully shaken mix of happiness! I hope you find my blog interesting, fun, funny & informative, but most of all entertaining!!

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