Whale and Dolphin watching in Sri Lanka
Whales and dolphins of the Indian Ocean
Due to over-exploitation over decades, many whale species came near the threat of extinction. However, there was no whale hunting in the Indian Ocean particularly within the Sri Lanka ocean territory from the beginning, and therefore it had been a whale sanctuary even before the International Whaling Commission established the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary in 1979, covering the vast ocean area north of 55° South Latitude. The whales of the Indian Ocean include the humpback whale, humpback dolphin, Bryde's whale, sperm whale, Sei whale, Orca, and pilot whale, etc. International Whaling Commission is reviewing the Indian Ocean Whale Sanctuary every 10 years to decide whether to maintain it or not. Its last review was in 2004. However, there would not be any kind of whale hunting within Sri Lanka's ocean territory, and so will remain an all time whale sanctuary forever.
Whale Bio Data
Blue whale is the all-time biggest animal ever existed on Earth. The tongue of a well grown blue whale weighs an elephant. It's liver weighs a ton, and the heart, half-a-ton. Its main blood vessels are so big that a toddler can easily crawl in them. The Blue Whale can store about a ton of food in it's stomach at once, and that is equal to 1600 human lunches. Sperm Whale has got the biggest brain of all animals on Earth. Total weight of a grown up whale is around 150 tons.
Whales and dolphins are not fish. They are marine mammals, and have lungs to breathe. They come to the surface of the sea to fill up their huge lungs that will let them stay under water for quite some time. When whales come to the surface, they puff air out from their lungs through the nostrils on the head, making a big splash of water.
Watch Whales off South Coast
The waters of the Indian Ocean off Dondra and Mirissa in the southern coast of Sri Lanka is considered the best to watch blue whales and sperm whales during November to April. There are a number of tour operators that organize whale-watching excursions in this part of the Island. Many tourists have sighted huge blue whales off Mirissa coast. Some even have seen the rare sight of Orcas playing in the Indian Ocean off Mirissa coast. It is cheaper to hire a fishing trawler for a group of tourists to go watching the whales at Dondra, the South Point of Sri Lanka. The fishermen are experts in spotting them.
There is a much safer and state-of-the-art whale-watching tour organized by Sri Lanka Navy at SLNS Dakshina naval base, Galle. They have a A543 luxuriously modified ship that can carry 200 people per tour. They will cruise to Mirissa and let you watch whales in a 5-hour fantastic trip. They will offer a meal as well to the tourists during the cruise.
Whale Watching in the East Coast
Trincomalee and the Dutch Bay of Kalpitiya are the best places to watch whales and dolphins in the east coast of Sri Lanka. June to September is considered as the best period for whale-watching off Trincomalee, and November to March is the best time to go dolphin-watching at Kalpitiya.