I was taking my morning swim around the island that my businessman-brother Geoffrey bought on a whim a decade ago and turned into a tropical paradise just 200 yards from one of the world’s most beautiful beaches on the Sri Lankan mainland.
I was a quarter way around the island when I heard my brother shouting at me, "Come back! Come back! There’s something strange happening with the sea." He was swimming behind me, but closer to the shore.
I couldn’t understand what the fuss was about. All seemed peaceful. There was barely a ripple in the sea.
Then I noticed that the water around me was rising, climbing up the rock walls of the island with astonishing speed. The vast circle of golden sand around Welligama Bay was disappearing rapidly, and the water had reached the level of the coastal road fringed with palm trees.
As I swam to shore, my mind was momentarily befuddled by two conflicting impressions: the idyllic blue sky and the rapidly rising waters.
In less than a minute, the water level had risen at least 15 feet — but the sea itself remained calm, barely a wave in sight.