Sir Arthur C. Clarke loved Sri Lanka. He was fascinated by the sea and once he settled down there, he spent as much time as possible on the beach... and scuba diving in his younger days.
I was fortunate to know Sir Arthur for many years, meeting up with him regularly at the Otters Aquatic Club where I swam and he came to satisfy his daily ping pong addiction.
I remember one afternoon being entertained by Arthur. While he waited for his table tennis match time, I joined a group of enamored pool attendants, swim coaches and a few other club members, gathered around while he was proudly sharing the news about his recent house guest, Walter Cronkite... Arthur rambled on and on about Walter and the various sites he was going to show him on their upcoming trip around the island. After we'd heard plenty about Walter and their plans, Arthur was finally called to the ping pong table... As we were beginning to break from our little huddle, I heard the pool boy in front of me whisper to his buddy, "Who's Walter Cronkite?"
Great! I might have been the only one in the bunch who'd ever heard of the famous news man. I loved it!
I think the relative anonymity he enjoyed in Sri Lanka was one of the reasons Sir Arthur called Sri Lanka home... that, and the beautifully enticing 'other worldly' nature of the place.
Here is a selection of shots I know Sir Arthur would have enjoyed. He was a great guy and a whole lot of fun!
And always it is the same;
the slender palm trees leaning over the white sand,
the warm sun sparkling on the waves
as they break on the inshore reef,
the outrigger fishing boats drawn up high on the beach.
This alone is real;
the rest is but a dream from which I shall presently awake.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke
from 'The Treasure of the Great Reef'