You can now go sailing on a yacht and snorkeling in Pasikuda (East Coast), Kitesurfing in Kalpitiya (West Coast), sailing in like a boss. It is time to plug in your earphones and play the boat song.
The yacht is owned by Captain Julien from France, and when its sails are hoisted you'll see the words 'Sail Lanka Charter' printed across them. We were told Sail Lanka lets you rent out the boat in some parts of Batticoloa too, which is not too far from Pasikuda.
Considering that this is a fabulous, pimped out yacht, we were surprised to find that a three-hour journey on it, including snorkeling, only costs Rs. 7500 per person (Rs. 4000 for children under 12). Sounds like a lot, but if it's just this one thing on your bucket list, I'd say it's worth it. There is a 9AM-12PM ride, and a 3PM-6PM ride, starting and ending on the dot.
Your journey begins on the Pasikuda Bay. Either you can call the folks at Sail Lanka up, or get your bay-side hotel to arrange it for you (Amaya Beach was our go-between). A little motorboat will take you from the shore in front of your hotel, to the yacht anchored out at sea about five minutes away.
The yacht is pretty amazing. On our ride, we were accompanied by about 15 tourists, tanning out in the front, so basically it felt like I was in a music video.
It's very smooth sailing from there, as you head out for about an hour towards the snorkeling point, Thannadi Bay. The waves and the sky while you're on a yacht - it's the good life, and we'd definitely recommend the experience if you're in Pasikuda.
You can either chill out on the bow of the yacht for the best view, lie down in the front for some tanning, or if you want the shade there's the little cabin with tables and cushy seats. You get drinks in lean glasses as you step in, and a small box of snacks later after the snorkeling. Service on the yacht is excellent - with our Belgian captain announcing instructions at every turn and playing some great music from his playlist (he even let us wear the captain's hat and steer the yacht for a bit), and Sri Lankan crew who were extremely friendly and attentive.
Once you reach the end point, you can jump off the yacht for some snorkeling. You swim about 30 feet from the yacht to the reefs to see some of Pasikuda's breathtaking corals and underwater life (the former, we were told, are sadly slowly dying out). If you suck at swimming like I do then you can do this with a life-jacket, or if you're nervous, there are crew members who'll tag along with you.
It's not every day you get to go out to sea on a yacht, let alone on the flawless, clear Pasikuda ocean. This is one experience we would highly recommend when you're vacationing in that part of the island.