Ammonite’s Man In Colombo

Just a week ago I was in huddled under canvas enjoying the bank holiday on the bright but chilly Devon coastline. A few days and a couple of quick decisions later, I found myself on malaria tablets and in the middle of the IIFA Bollywood film awards in Colombo.

It has been a hectic and sleepless couple of days but after a frankly terrifying six-hour drive through Sri Lanka’s stunning interior (overtaking buses and elephants on low-loaders), I finally made it to the wild south coast. Crashing surf and thick jungle greeted me along with monitor lizards and cobras spilling out of the forest and onto my hotel room terrace.

I’m in the depths of the Sri Lankan jungle on a week-long recce for a forth-coming Ammonite project (watch this space for details!). However I would be giving little away to say that I’ve visited one of Sri Lanka’s most pristine wildlife areas where I encountered a totally different ecosystem than I’ve become familiar with in Africa. Water buffalo appear like submarines from waterholes whilst smiling crocodiles line the banks. Lazy leopards hang in the trees contemptibly looking at the clambering vehicles surrounding them. It’s a great place.

Whilst I’m here I’ve been working with a fantastic local team who’ve been trialling a rather unique remote camera. Always keen on new technology at Ammonite I couldn’t help myself in lending a hand with the trial run this morning. Attaching a tiny HD camera in an underwater housing (that can apparently survive being run over) we fixed the camera to a kids remote control car and parked it in front of a herd of elephants. I’m not sure if being squashed by an elephant is in the manufactures warranty but fortunately we’ve not had to find out yet as the elephants took a curious interest before moving on without crushing our new toy. I’ve attached what can only be described as a mongoose’s eye view of an elephant with this post.

So it’s back to the office on Wednesday and leaving the warmth of Sri Lanka behind, look out for our posts over the summer as the Ammonite crew return to the jungle on our latest assignment.

Tom Stephens