As the dive season draws to a close the visibility is low at the Bar Reef but its good enough for some relaxed snorkeling after a few dives on the deeper ridges offshore. All around, hundreds of butterflyfish and damselfish dart around the coral. Schools of snappers and parrotfish congregate around deep sand patches and surgeonfish graze on algae, while in the distance adult blacktip reef sharks cruise the reef edge looking for a mid day snack.
Its a typically hot, sunny day in late March on the northwest coast of Sri Lanka. The light breeze that refreshed us earlier in the morning has disappeared and everything around us is still and silent. Above us, a few white clouds hang like cotton wool in the clear blue sky, their reflection visible on the flat mirror like surface of the ocean. The calm preceding the monsoon storms that will soon batter the coast for six months before a new season starts in an endless cycle that works with near clockwork precision. We laze around on the boat between dives, scanning the horizon hoping for the sight of a dolphin as it breaks the surface of the water, or perhaps a whale shark feeding on the abundant plankton. The silence broken only by flying fish escaping from an unknown predator.