If cruising atop the Indian Ocean in search of blue whales, killer whales, sperm whales, dolphins, manta rays, and whale sharks sounds like your cup of tea, then you’re in luck. All around the island of Sri Lanka, and for several months of the year, you can have the chance to glimpse majestic whales as they continue their migrations from the south coast, where they congregate from December to March.
During May and July, the peak of the monsoon season in the southwest, the ocean can get quite rough, and many tour operators do not run cruises. It’s always essential to check local regulations for how a tour company operates to ensure whale and dolphin watching guidelines are met and enforced.
Whale watching in Mirissa
About an hour’s drive from the UNESCO heritage site of Galle on the south coast of Sri Lanka, you’ll find Mirissa, another jumping-off point to view blue whales in all their glory. This is where the whales congregate for part of the year, given the relatively calm seas in the south of the island from December onwards. As a result, you have a good chance of spotting blue whales, sperm whales, fin whales, occasional orcas, and several types of dolphins. Most whale-watching tour companies leave the harbor around 7 am and take around 30 minutes to an hour to reach a safe distance from where you can view the whales. Boat trips can last anywhere from three to five hours.
Whale and dolphin watching in Kalpitiya
Kalpitiya in north-western Sri Lanka teems with sperm whales every March as the mammals – some up to 20 m in length – gather in the deep waters. These placid, giant creatures spend 90 percent of their lives in the deepest parts of the ocean. However, if you’re lucky enough to get a glimpse as they come to the surface, it’s the most breathtaking experience. The dolphin-watching boat tours off Kalpitiya will also allow you to see pods of gorgeous spinner dolphins playfully roaming the Indian Ocean.