My cousin, on the beach
The best part of Trinco is the Navy Dockyards, available only to the military. My uncle served so we were able to go with him. Trinco is the fifth largest natural harbor in the world, but almost completely ‘undeveloped’. It’s deep enough that you can sail container ships in there, but the beaches are also great for swimming. It was a site the LTTE wanted for their capital, and thank God it’s secure.
The Trinco available to civilians actually sucks. There’s the public sea front, you can eat a bunch of sea creatures at Green Park, climb Koneshwaram Temple (which is cool). After that you might as well head to Nilaveli, cause that’s about it. If you continue through the Navy checkpoint, however, it’s another world.
This BFG is actually from British times and never, I think, fired in anger. Modern defences are more subtle
The Dockyards is a place of training as well as leisure for the Navy. Trinco is a strategically important port once desired by the LTTE, so the place was once on high alert preventing their divers and suicide missions from blowing things up and killing people. The Navy still patrols the seas, securing the eastern coast.
Sailor retrieving a fallen hat
Aside from it’s strategic importance, however, the place is just beautiful. For one, it is incredibly green and untouched. It is also impeccably maintained, like most military bases. The Navy House is shaped like a ship and looks out onto the harbor. From Pepperpot Jetty you can take a boat around the place, see the beached Dvoras docked at Sober Island and get close to the Prima factory.
View from inside a bunker
For all the scenic beauty, the place is still a military base. It’s been attacked by the LTTE and the LTTE also carried out numerous terrorist attacks in the city and district, everything from bus bombs to hacking innocent villagers with machetes. The Navy was on constant pins guarding against suicide attacks. The Naval museum has captured suicide vests, claymore, guns and a small one person suicide craft. It’s basically a torpedo with a quiet 2 horsepower engine and handles for a diver to guide it. Guys were psycho and I’m thankful every day the LTTE is done.
That means one can go to the beach. Of course, the place is still an active military base, so you have to go with military. Coral Cove, pictured here, is actually just before the firing range. When firing is on they actually fire directly across the road, so it’s not exactly a tourist spot. We heard some gunfire, but not coming at us. I think.
Coral Cove is so named because the beach is not so much sand as dusted coral. The sea is a bit rough this season and gets deep fast, but it’s quite nice. This is only one of many great beaches in the dockyards, from Green Bay to Sober Island (I hear).
Coral Bay panorama. View larger.
Right now this paradise is only available to military. I was only able to go because my uncle served and was stationed there. Which seemed like a remarkable life. They showed me the cottage where he and my aunt stayed, it has a stunning view of the harbor and there’s every facility inside. My aunt said it’s her favorite part of Sri Lanka. I love it too, but I only get to go with them. I hope they open up bits to the public some day, because it is the real Trincomalee.