Launched at Karainagar Island on 19th February 2016, the navy’s kayaking expedition to circumnavigate the Island, reached Trincomalee Harbour at 1100hrs on 26th March 2016 completing 1010 km arduous and exhausting paddling through waters of Western, Southern and most of Eastern seaboard. The team was led by Captain (CDO) Priyantha Perera, the Director Naval Training, Chairman of Rowing and Canoeing sports and former Commanding Officer of the Navy’s elite Special Boat Squadron. The other members of the team comprised of Lieutenant Commander (SBS) DGKGT Kumara and FCPO (SBS) AWGP Sampath; both are serving members of the Special Boat Squadron along with Captain Perera, paddled the entire distance while a fourth paddler took turns at separate legs of the passage to allow training and to gain experience for the members of the Special Boat Squadron.
The Ocean kayaking is a recreation of high endurance as well as a Special Maritime Operation skill that demands physical endurance, technique and confidence. In most coastal countries ocean kayaking is well established and extensively promoted as a part of coastal tourism and recreation with ample service support and infrastructure although in Sri Lanka very few practice in this sport as a recreation. Canoeing is also a core competency in Special Maritime Operation Warfare and history of Special Warfare bare evidence of stunning raids carried out in canoes.
The paddling will take approximately 40 days to kayak circumnavigate the island totalling a distance over 1200km. However, dive site exploration had extended the duration by few more days. The commencement of paddling came about on 19th February 2016 coinciding with the termination of the Amphibious Operation Course. The expedition was launched from K point (Kalmunai Point) Jaffna and went kayaking anti clockwise in 32 legs.