Delft Island

Delft Island

The large, windswept island of Delft sits twenty miles off the mainland; about as far away from a city as you can get in densely-packed Sri Lanka. After an 80-minute bus ride to Kurikadduwan, we took a ferry to the island, and almost immediately upon disembarking from the ship, Jürgen realized with a cry that his camera battery was out of juice. I instinctively started backing away from him. A Jürgen who can’t take pictures at a wild, remote island is a dangerous, unpredictable Jürgen.

Pigeon House Delft Island
“Oooh… retro filter makes anything cool!”

What could we do, but push forward with our day?! The next ferry home didn’t leave for four hours, so we hired a tuk-tuk to take us on a tour of the island’s highlights. Jürgen was forced to make peace with the only backup camera we had: a four-year-old iPhone. The rest of the day, I’d be listening to sarcastic gripes like, “I’m going to win Photographer of the Year with this photo! National Geographic, here I come!”

Anyway. Delft was gorgeous despite our inability to properly photograph it. The dry, windswept landscape is home to a group of wild ponies, a strong military presence, and a human population of about 5000. Our tour started at the Old Portuguese Fort, built entirely from corals fished out of the ocean. To get there, we followed our driver into the back yard of the island’s hospital, and were free to climb to the top of the ancient ruins.

Next up was an old, ruined stupa. Not too exciting, but the long drive required to reach it impressed upon us the size of the island. Then, we visited the Pigeon House which… was a pigeon house, built by the Portuguese; pigeons were apparently the main method of communication back then. Luckily, the next stop on our tour was more interesting. An immense baobab tree in the middle of the island. Delft is the only spot in Sri Lanka where you can find these trees, which the Portuguese brought over from Africa. Amazing, and probably the highlight of our tour.

No, the highlight was the beach. We spent about an hour on a lonely patch of sand, taking in the sun and bathing in the lukewarm water of the Indian Ocean. It was so relaxing that Jürgen even forgot about the empty battery. Refreshed, we headed back to the ferry (which was free, by the way) and made our way home. Delft Island is one of the more difficult spots in Sri Lanka to reach, but there are plenty of reasons to make the trip. Just please, charge your camera battery.

Location on our Sri Lanka Map
Jaffna Hotels

Delft Ponies
Delft Island Beach
Coral Wall Delft Island
Jaffna Island
Old Fort Delft Island
Climbing On Ruins
Delft Dutch 1905
Buddhist Ruin Delft Island
Growing Stone Cobra Delft Island
baobab tree Sri lanka
Day Trip Islands Jaffna

6 Comments

  • Dani | Globetrottergirls

    OMG – Jess and I cannot believe how alike you and us are: this sentence “I instinctively started backing away from him. A Jürgen who can’t take
    pictures at a gorgeous, remote island that took three hours to get to,
    is a dangerous, unpredictable Jürgen.” could’ve well been written by Jess 😀 I HATE it when that happens and for some reason, it always happens when I REALLY want to take pictures of something. And our 4-year old iPhone does the job, it’s just not comparable to a DSLR camera  😉

    April 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm
    • Juergen

      I think we very much alike as well. It kind of freaks me out, hehe!

      April 5, 2012 at 11:33 am
  • Lakmalie

    Dear Jurgen n Mike,Today’s Sunday Times gave our local tourists as well as off shore visitors to explore mostly missed areas in my country. Thank You  for introducing these two young enthusiastic explorers with immense travel experience. It’s undoubtedly a wonderful job you have performed .Within a such a short period you have done a  great big part.Have best of courage,health and strength to visit more and more places globally.Take care.Lakmalie

    April 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm
    • Mike Powell

      We’re glad you found our blog! Sri Lanka is full of amazing things to discover, particularly in the north which is just beginning to welcome tourists back. We’re going to be sad to leave Sri Lanka!

      April 16, 2012 at 9:16 am
  • walpolage premalal walpola

    Delft is a peaceful Island & People are very friendly. I visited this Island 05th February 2016 & spent.1 hour &15 minis by boat from Kurikadduwan ferry to Delft ferry by boat.This Island is famous for wild Hoses ,Ponies,Coral Walls & Shallow beaches.There unique fetchers of the beautiful Island. The Staff of the Divisional Secretariat is very cooperate  . Mr.Nelson will help you if you visit the Island (His Telephone number is 0778448737)

    February 22, 2016 at 8:02 am
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