For most nature lovers, none could be more thrilling than enjoying mother nature’s splendour in close range, and whale watching could be one; it is really an exciting event that’s ideal to be spent with your family and friends.
Sri Lanka is increasingly gaining popularity as a major spot for watching whales because its coastline falls within a major whale and dolphin migration route. Especially West and Southern coast of Sri Lanka is very close to whale migration routes, making it the ideal place to watch whales. The major ports of whale and dolphin watching in Sri Lanka include the east coast of Trincomalee, remote locations in Alankuda beach in Kalpitiya in the West coast and Mirissa or Dondra Point down south. In addition, the western coastal cities of Alutgama, Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa also offer whale and dolphin sightings.
Because of the increase in tourism, commercial whale watching tours are carried out now and some are even conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy. Sperm whales, Blue whales and Spinner dolphins are the most commonly spotted large sea creatures.
Recommended things to bring on your whale watch are a camera and plenty of film or memory cards (if you’re digital). If you’ve got binoculars take them as whales sometimes surface yards from the boat, and having binoculars will give you spectacular views and close ups others without them just won’t get. Wear sneakers or something rubber-soled for good traction on a wet and slippery deck. And take sunscreen, sunglasses, and if it’s got a tie strap – a hat.
Whales are majestic and graceful giants, who’s every move seems effortless, choreographed, and yet playful. Whale watching in Sri Lanka is a spellbinding, entertaining, and thought-provoking adventure trip. It’s a show with the largest mammals on earth as the star performers. So go ahead and take the adventure – they don’t stay for long.
When to Go
As one would expect whale watching tours are available year round, but December and January are the best months to go Whale watching as there is around 95% chance of spotting Whales during those two months. March and April are two other months where the chance of spotting is very high. According to marine experts there are resident Whales in those areas so you have the chance of spotting them any time of the year, but chances of spotting is increased during the months mentioned above.
How to Spot the Whales
- Look for white patches in the ocean, where the water breaks on their bodies.
- Listen to the noise they make when they reach the surface of the water to breathe. This is known as spouting, as the mammals blow air through their two blow holes near the top of the head.
- Be patient, and take a good pair of binoculars so that you can scan every inch of water.
Whale Watching Tour Packages in Sri Lanka
There are few companies that offer Whale watching tours and some travel agents have Whale watching tour packages as well with hotel accommodations etc. A typical Whale watching tour starts around 6AM in the morning and can last around 4-5 hours. You will be provided breakfast and life jackets and most boats have a trained lifeguard with them. There are toilet facilities available in most boats.