5am start. The mornings in Sri Lanka are probably the best time of the day for me. Driving from Polonnatuwa the heat from the rising sun battle with the cooled down ground from its nights rest. This creates a dancing foggy morning mist. The sun is always that deep blood orange and as it raises it clips the palm trees and the mountains.

Elephant bay was a total flop. I was hunting round Kalkudah for ages and then moved up to Passekudah where I found out that it was also totally flat. I decide to give myself a guided tour of the area and look some very random roads and found a paradise beach.  It was early in the morning so there was no wind at all. It was a sprawling cove of inlets as far as the eye could see it sparkled golden in the in the morning light like dunes of diamonds.

There were lines of little people in the distance that looked like two millipedes in the sand. They were fishermen haling up a nets from the night fishing. The beach was empty apart from a small group of bovines that had gathered under a tree already struggling to endure the heat.

The water was like glass and an occasional ½ foot clean perfect wave would stroke it’s way along the beach. I dived in after my 3-hour drive. The water around me was like being wrapped in silk, so warm. So refreshing.  This was a picture post card type place with boulders jutting out at the points and trees dangling over the sandy beaches.

I decide to head to Batticaloa or Batty as the locals say.

This was another 30k so I was starting to structure a plan on how I was going to shoot my project on the east coast and get in proper surf.

As I was driving in I saw the head offices for UMCOR so I popped in and gave them my project details about what I was doing. I was luckily enough to meet Murali who used to work for USAid and new all the projects they had done.

He told me about this market that Dr Francescas’ had mentioned! I spend most of the morning photographing this two-story structure. It was very unusual for a market out here. The controversial issue is that they put the fish on the first floor. To avoid the other items smelling. This also meant that the fish cuts and everything was washed down the drains and were left on the ground floor. Not really solving the problem.

I then travelled to The lighthouse that USAid help rebuild. This wasn’t much actually so I did some of my own hunting around. This included another dip in the sea. I love working with a little bit of a dip in the sea, so lucky. But as I took my dip I noticed a small hamlet of fishing huts.

I new this would be great for my project.

As I was making my way in the scorching midday heat I came across a house that looked like it had been blown up, as I got closer I notice that there was a village of them. They reminded me of the ruins of the concentration camps that I saw in Poland. The windows and doors had been torn from their fittings and the brickwork facing the beach had been destroyed. Obviously it was the tsunami. But what I couldn’t work out it why these structures looked so new. They were very much like the houses I had been photographing all last week. There must have been about 25 to 30 of them. They were stripped and in a desert like area.

I made my way done to the fishing village, they had seen me taking photos way before I arrived. As they greeted me and we were walking towards the sea I noticed two Long Drop toilets to one side. They had now walls just the foundations and two hols.  The first thing that struck me was they were clean! Openly exposed to the world, clean toilets and the concrete look like it had never been trodden on. I found out that this village had been wiped out. The most painful thing about it was that it had just been built before the tsunami hit. People had moved in to there new homes only to be whipped out months later.

The people had been relocated about 500 meters from there old village.  It’s a shame they can’t rebuild the old structures and use them. I imagine it is quite emotionally hard for the people but they could be converted in to new housing considering there are some people living in tents still.

The fishing village was incredible! I had a great help from them and they showed me all the huts and the housing that they used.  It was interesting to see there approach to buildings facing the same project problemsas the INGOs.

The little huts were held together by bits of old gathered corrugated metal, wood and tarpaulin.  The roofing was a thick thatch that was bound together with palm tree leaves and layered on top of each other.