Animals animals everywhere

For those who know me well, you’ll know I am not an animal lover.  Pretty much every friend I have on Bowen has at least one dog and when we go hiking, the dogs crowd around me, get under my feet, eat my lunch and grab a slobbery kiss when they can.  Arghh!  For many years, Emily next door had a hamster that used to follow me around their house whenever I popped in next door for a drink.  Judi, the one person I thought would never get a dog, sneakily welcomed Missy into her home a few months back.  Had I been there I would have had something to say about that!

So you can imagine how amazed I was to find myself making plans to head out on a one-day safari in Yala National Park.  I only did this because my long-time friend Rita was visiting Sri Lanka for the first time, and she is an animal lover through and through.  My heart was in my mouth from 5am when we set off, to 2pm when we left the Park.  But I must admit for it to be pretty cool to see the array of animals up close and personal.

The sun rising at Yala National Park upon our arrival

We were lucky with our driver who was really knowledgeable on birds, plants and animals and really only spoke when he needed to.  He also did not follow the other jeeps, but instead made his own way around the park, visiting remote watering holes and taking his time for the animals to come to us in the quiet of the park.  It’s this kind of patience that got us to catch our first sighting of the elusive leopard by 7.30am.  We were stoked!

The leopard, about 30 feet away from our jeep.  It did not help my nerves when Rita wondered what would happen if the leopard put it’s paws on the bars of our OPEN jeep.

After our sighting, word spread pretty quickly and by the time the other jeeps had arrived, the leopard had skulked off back into the jungle.

Check out the slideshow below for many other animal sightings, including many elephants (Amira you would have been in heaven!), water buffalo, wild boar, crocodile, deer, numerous types of birds including peacocks, bee-eaters and eagles (much smaller than the Canadian ones), monitor lizards and many other kind of slinky things – shiver!

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We had a break right by the ocean, gorgeous beach but hot hot hot there – we stayed under the shade.

The most worrying part of the safari, was how dry the park was.  Monsoon in the south-east of the country happens October to February every year, check out how dry it is after monsoon.  There is a anxious time ahead methinks.

A very dry riverbed that should be brimming with water at this time of year


About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in the north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
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7 Responses to Animals animals everywhere

  1. Patrica Butchart says:

    Wow you do have some amazing trips Kate. Thanks for sharing.
    Thinking about how the weather patterns have been changing. We in Ontario and Quebec and other parts of Canada and the US are now getting lots of rain and lots of flooding. We do. It need the rain. Where you are, they do. Hope you get some of that rain soon. Be safe and keep on telling your stories.
    Pat Butchart
    Rotarian in Gananoque,Ontario

    • Kate Coffey says:

      Lovely to hear from you Pat! Thanks for continuing to follow my blog. I saw Montreal has some serious floods, weather patterns sure are a’changing. Drought here in Sri Lanka is serious and has a big impact on the availability and future cost of rice. Yields are way down reducing the farmers income levels significantly . With lower rice yields means businesses who provide milling, packaging of rice, manufacturers of polysacks for rice storage, trucks for transportation are also hit hard. Lower yields pushes up the cost of rice for the consumer, even though they are earning less. In six months time there will be food issues in Sri Lanka.

  2. Judith Gedye says:

    aww – do i detect a thaw? good on you to a) do this for rita, b) enjoy it! WOW to see a leopard – magnificent yes?!.

    • Kate Coffey says:

      Not a thaw, just a recognition of the majesty of animals in the wild. I ain’t getting a dog any time soon!! And yes, I was awestruck seeing the leopard. We were very fortunate. Guides go weeks without seeing a leopard in the park!

  3. Jen carlington says:

    Ah yes, how we remember your fondness for Scuffles Mcdougal Carlington whizzing around in his excercise ball just to torture you . Happy days ☺️
    Have fun love Jen

  4. Mick Canning says:

    Wow, that looked an amazing trip – loads of good views of wildlife.

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