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Koggala

Koggala Airport in Sri Lanka was originally a Royal Air Force (RAF) Station RAF Koggala..  

History

Prior to the Second World War, the lake at Koggala was used for sea planes. After the outbreak of war, a water runway was demarcated and a flying boat base was established, it was the largest flying-boat base in the east. It was a Catalina from Koggala which located the fleet of Admiral Chuichi Nagumo on 4 April 1942. It was two Sunderlands from here that rescued a group of wounded Chindits from Burma in June 1944.

After the Japanese occupied the Malay Peninsula in 1942, the Imperial Airways flight from London to Sydney lost Singapore, its refueling point between Calcutta and Perth, Western Australia. It was vital to the British/Australian war effort that the flight be maintained at any cost, so an alternate route was established through Koggala.

QEA and Imperial Airways flew Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats from Koggala lake to the Swan River at Perth, on what was at the time the world's longest non-stop air route. The aeroplanes each carried three passengers, and 60 kilograms (130 lb) of mail. At 28 hours, the flight was so long that the passengers saw the sun rise twice, and it came to be called the 'flight of The Double Sunrise'. The first flight arrived from Perth on 30 March 1943, the last fight was on 18 July 1945. The Catalinas were replaced by civilianised Consolidated B-24 Liberator and Avro Lancastrian aeroplanes.

Meanwhile, the tarmac surface of the land runway was developed. After the war, Air Ceylon operated services to and from Koggala by Douglas DC-3 Dakota aeroplanes. In 1964, the Dakotas were replaced by Avro 748 and Nord Aviation 262 aircraft. These services were terminated following the closure of Air Ceylon in 1978.

Koggala River and Koggala Lake are attracting many nature lovers. Koggala is wide stretched village on Sri Lanka's South Coast. with beautiful beaches and some of the best surf spots on the island.

Many little shops are close by, perfect for your daily needs. Little beach restaurants offer fresh seafood and provide excellent views overlooking the picturesque Bay.

An interesting place to visit in Koggala are Buddhist hermitages which are situated on a couple of islets on the Koggala lake. The hermitages which may be visited with prior permission.

Koggala is generally recommended for a visit to the Martin Wickramasinghe Folk Art Museum or for a ride to one of the islands on the Lake. There is, however, a lot more to Koggala. You can ride on a catamaran around the Lake with a local villager who may be willing to take you fishing upon request. You could also take a bicycle ride (or Tuk-tuk) along the dirt tracks of the villages around the perimeter of the Lake to discover some of the wonderful vegetation and animal life (snakes, monitor lizards, birds). Koggala beach is a beautiful stretch of clear, soft, golden sand, perfect for long walks along to the next bays of Ahangama and Midigama. 

   
   
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