Blue whale watching holiday in Sri Lanka
Price depends on your party size (couples and private solo tours can be arranged).
Please contact us for a quote specific to your party size and requirements. Minimum Age: 12 Years old.
Description of Blue whale watching holiday in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is becoming one of the top whale watching destinations in the world. Join us on this specific blue whale watching tour and come face to face with the largest animal to ever live on the planet. With 100% successful sighting rate and fully WDCS certified boats we have a great track record when it comes to watching whales in Sri Lanka.
It was originally thought that blue whales migrated to Sri Lanka from the Arabian gulf each winter and stayed until spring. However recent scientific studies have suggested that the blue whale population off the coast of Sri Lanka is here all year and they just come closer to the shore in winter. One thing is for sure, blue whales begin to congregate off the southern coast of Sri Lanka from late November through to mid April. They come here to feed and the largest numbers are typically from late February to mid March. Sperm whales and large pods of long-nosed spinner dolphins can also be seen here more reliably throughout the year and are also commonly seen during the peak blue whale season.
Your on-board guides for the suggested itinerary below will be able to help you identify the different species of cetaceans as well as interpret the different behaviours you're seeing. We also use excellent local whale watching naturalists (actually we use the only certified and accredited whale watching boat in Mirissa), with years of experience in locating whales and dolphins, just offshore. They know the exact areas the whales usually locate and their ability to spot whales at distance is phenomenal to see.
Whilst the dynamics of whale populations are relatively unknown we are aware that the blue whales and sperm whales are here en mass to feed on the plentiful krill, fish and squid. The reason for these bountiful seas is that the nutrient rich waters of the deep Indian Ocean are pushed up towards the surface by the near vertical continental shelf which skirts the south and eastern coastline of Sri Lanka. This cold current coming to the surface is full of plankton and attracts huge numbers of krill, which in turn attracts the krill’s predators: blue whales and small schooling fish. Huge pods of long-nosed spinner and long-beaked common dolphins also come to feed on the fish and the deep sea squid. In one morning’s whale watching it is possible to see a pod of 500 dolphins chasing down schools of sardines, followed by 4-5 blue whales in krill rich waters feeding and socialising before being surrounded by a large pod of deep diving sperm whales searching for deep sea squid.
Whale numbers in Sri Lanka are still being assessed but it is becoming apparent that for a few months the waters off the south coast become as rich in cetaceans as anywhere else on earth. With our expertise in whale watching we have a perfect success rate of seeing blue whales and we don’t put this down to chance. We also make sure that the whale watching boat we use for all our excursions is accredited by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) and they abide by international whale watching guide lines. We are determined to make sure that whale watching in Sri Lanka is done sustainably and with respect to the environment.
Blue whales are rare by nature (over the last 100 years humans have reduced their numbers by 99% of their total population), however even in their heyday the blue whale was an oceanic wanderer which was difficult to follow and next to impossible to understand. Over the years there have been a few different locations where blue whales are seen with any regularity but recently the south coast of Sri Lanka has attracted large numbers, often close to shore. Also here are fin whales, Bryde’s whales, minke whales, humpback whales, sperm whales, long-nosed spinner dolphins, long-beaked common dolphins, common bottlenose dolphins and striped dolphins.
As there is no real walking involved in this tour, there is no need to a high or even medium level of fitness. Obviously if you wish to snorkel a good level of swimming ability is essential. But the rest of the suggested itinerary below involves sitting or standing in awe on the whale watching boats.
When you book onto the tour we will send you a comprehensive pre-departure pack which will include a full packing list of recommended equipment. But here is a brief outline of the basics: We recommend you bring along your own binoculars or spotting scope (although the ocean spray can be a problem on the boats) as well as appropriate clothing; which should be light and airy clothes for warm weather as well as a waterproof coat. Insect repellent is handy as there can be mosquitoes about during the evenings and nights. Oh and please bring plenty of memory cards or film for your camera. Also do not forget sun cream, sun hat and sun glasses as the sun can be strong here during the day. Also if you have your own mask, snorkel and fins they are always good to have as the snorkelling is great.
Minimum age: 12 Years old.
PlanetWe promote the use of environmentally friendly and sustainable practises throughout the tour. We do however understand that Sri Lanka is a poor country which has only just started to take advantage of the cetacean abundance here. As a result some of the boats are not as clean as we would hope, but like anything they need the money in order to improve facilities and the money only comes with increased tourism and donations. We are monitoring this improvement and will be making enquiries into why improvements have not been made when we feel that they have the resources to do so.
We donate annually (depending on how many tours and how many guests we have taken to see blue whales) to the WDCS with a view to increasing knowledge and protection for cetaceans around the world. We are also involved in the development and implement of a set of regulations and guidelines which will make the whale watching whale friendly and sustainable. We also make sure that every time we go out on the water that we abide by the international whale watching guidelines and regulations. These are in place to make sure that the whale watching is safe for the whales and for us.
We also make notes of other boats we see which are in breach of basic environmentally friendly rules and report such boats to the authorities.
We strictly adhere to the international guidelines regarding whale and dolphin watching. These guidelines details the distances that boats of various sizes are allowed to the animals and how loud engines can be etc.
Where we see whale watching boats breach these rules (whether we are on that boat or not) we report the act to the boat management team as well as the local authorities. We also make our feeling known to the skipper of the boat if we are on the boat and ask him to move further away from the animals.
We also keep a record of all the marine life we see on each tour and record the environmental factors, this data is used by ourselves but also given to the researchers who work out of Mirissa. All the information collected in invaluable as the knowledge of this Indian Ocean population of blue whales is very little understood. We also donate our pictures to the researchers to aid in their photo identification studies.
PeopleThe local community benefits from this tour purely by being employed to find the whales and dolphins as part of the whale watching infrastructure in Mirissa. Whale watching is still in its infancy in Sri Lanka and as a result the facilities may not be up to most western standards. As a result we always look to improve the facilities and are always making suggestions and contributing to the local suppliers. This is done with a sustainable and environmentally frame of mind and we hope that within the next 10 years, whale watching can rival that of Canada, Baja and South Africa.
We are also working in conjunction with the WDCS in order to make sure that the future whale watching industry is regulated and monitored. This will ensure the long term survival of whale watching here and therefore add in job security and allow for long term development of local communities which is then centred around whale watching and eco-tourism.
By using a professional zoologist and local guides, the guides get an extra perspective of the importance of monitoring the whales and understanding their behaviour. We also regularly help to educate local people by sending information packs about whales and dolphins to schools on an annual basis.