A small island country south of India, Sri Lanka boasts of a diverse landscape for every type of traveler. I have been a mountain lover for the longest time, but the beautiful beaches of Sri Lanka caused a change of heart. Sitting by the sea in Hikkaduwa and surfing in Weligama introduced me to an entirely new gamut of experiences, but the experience that sealed the deal for me was Whale Watching.
Sri Lanka has a rich marine life, and its crowning glory is the largest animal to have existed – the blue whale. But finding one is not that easy. The fact is that these giant creatures are actually very shy animals. This makes sighting them extremely rare. Also given the dangers posed due to human reasons and ocean degradation, their numbers are estimated to be so low, that you’d be lucky to see one.
So, after spending a couple of days soaking in the sun, sand, and surf of Sri Lanka, we decided to do a whale watching tour. Our day began early and we caught up with ‘Raja and the Whales’ in Mirissa, who we had been told had a reputation of getting you a sighting of the magnificent giant. After completing all the formalities, we boarded the ship at around 6.30 am and headed to sea. As previously mentioned, I am a mountain person, so the long hours at sea and the swaying with the waves did activate the seasickness.
We spend the next couple of hours going farther away from the shore and deeper into the ocean. On the way, we spotted some sperm whales, dolphins, Byrde’s, but there was no sign of the blue whale. Time moved really slowly and the other boats headed back, but our tour boat stayed and kept looking.
We went further into the ocean when everyone suddenly stood up in the excitement and looked star-board. There she was, a giant blue whale just some meters away with her baby. She was beneath the surface and we could see a little bit of the back of the blue whale. A spray of water was released in the air as she took a big gulp of air and dove down. We just saw a blue whale, but it was over even before we realized it. So we again set off on her trail to catch another glimpse and after a while, she came back to the surface. She splendidly lifted her tail out of the water and a cheer ran through the entire boat. We had just seen the Earth’s largest mammal!
The boat brought us back to land at around lunchtime. We headed to the Mirissa beach, ordered some food, sat in the sand sipping our beers, wondering in humility and awe about the mystical creatures that live beneath the surface of the blue sea.
How to reach:
By Air: Sri Lanka is a tourist hotspot, and is well-connected to all major airports across the globe. Bandaranaike International Airport is around 30 km from Colombo.
By Train: Once in Colombo, you can take a train to Weligama, which is around 20 minutes away from Mirissa (approximately 8kms).
By Road: One can also book a direct cab from Colombo to Mirissa, which is approximately 150 km (3 hours travel time)
TRAVEL WITH AWARA FEET TO UNEXPLORED PLACES.