Petr had arranged two vans to come and pick us up to take me and another film crew to Eachilanpattai. This was a 3-hour drive on pretty much unmade roads. Worse than most roads I’ve been on even in Africa. In Eachilanpattai they had an ice factory and some fishing storage houses. I went with the driver and another of the guides from the office over there. As the crow flies, Eachilanpattai is only about an hour away but the ferrys from Trinco don’t take cars over to Mutto so you have to take a triangular route.

Once we arrived we split into two groups and I headed to the ice factory. This was a bright green building, quite heavy set with a pull down door. In side were 2 freezer chests: one to produce the ice, and one to store it. The factory is designed so the fishermen can transport their catches from the east coast and send them to Colombo with out them going off.

It was a scorching day and we spent most of the time out in the sun. So I spent a lot of the time back in the mini bus tying to escape the heat. We came to another fisherman storage unit on the coast. It was placed in a beautiful bay. To the right were white-sanded beaches stretching as far as the eye could see and turquoise sea lapping at the sand and big, round perestroika looking rocks. To the left lay a Tamil temple on the top of a point. It looked like some kind of white bishop’s hat stuck on the top of the clump of rocks.

As you looked back to the land, the bay split in  two where a creek opened up. There was what looked like a new bridge donated by a forum government (possibly the Spanish?). One end had been blown up and was pitched in to the water. The steel had been bent and distorted by the power of the aerial attack. The barbed wire that used to be coiled round the length of the bridge now lay out in the water looking like an old slinky that had been pulled apart. The razor sharp bits of metal were now covered in crustaceans where they sat in the water. The bridge was still guarded by the military. I was told that this area was the heart of the Tamil Tiger battlefield. The bridge had been hit by the Tigers to prevent the government sending troops over.
Walking around the flat open beach to take photos of the bright pink storage huts I suddenly became aware that there could well be mines lying around. I took my steps a little more gingerly after this and made it back to the van.

I was quite suspicious as we were leaving as we seemed to be heading for the bridge further north. The bridge had been covered with heavy-duty iron sheets. Where the bridge dipped down in to the sea the sheets were places in an almost U shape from the bank moving steeply down and back up to the centre of the bridge that was still just intact.  The driver stalled the van whilst going back up the other side of the U thinking that the undercarriage of the van would be caught on the arching incline.

As we travelled up the road there was more housing destroyed by the war. It was hard to tell what was tsunami damage and what was from the conflict.  I got some great shots of fairly new housing from this day. We then had to make the extremely bumpy ride back to Trinco having to stop every now and then for cattle and dogs running in the road…