Whale Watching in Sri Lanka & Why my Trip was a Disaster
It is strange how an experience can be so scary but so wonderful at the same time. I have been on a couple of whale watching boat trips and not had any luck to spot any whales.
During a Sri Lanka vacation I had heard about the whale tours in Mirissa and got so excited that I might actually see some whales as they were often spotted on the South Coast of Sri Lanka at the time of year I was visiting.
Going on the Whale Watching Tour
Even getting up at 5am didn’t put me off doing a whale watching trip as I thought at least I get to see the sun rise too which was beautiful even through tired eyes.
I was on a 2 week Sri Lanka trip and during the trip each destination in Sri Lanka, surprised me more.
At the time this whales watching trip in Mirissa was one of the scariest things i have ben on but looking back on it, it is still an experience that I would say you have to do when in Sri Lanka as it is great to see wildlife in their natural habitat.
The Port of Mirrssa
The port in Mirissa was packed with different size fishing boats, we were told how the bigger boats go out for weeks at a time but the little boats will only go out for the day.
It was interesting watching the fishermen preparing their boats, whilst we were waiting for all the passengers on our whale watching trip to arrive.
I was doing this whale watching trip with some fellow travelling on my G Adventures tour in Sri Lanka. It was an optional pat of the tour so not everyone did the trip but it is also very easy to organise if you are travelling Sri Lanka independently as there are plenty of companies offering it online or if you ask at the place you are staying they should be able to help you organise.
When our Whale watching Trip in Mirissa, started getting scary
The boat we went on, had two decks and we went to sit up the top, two members of the group sat at the front and the rest of us went to the back of the boat. We were told to put on our life jackets and off we went.
The sun was started to shine but after a few minutes of heading out to sea, grey clouds started to appeared. These clouds grew darker and darker, drops off rain started to fall. We were all still upbeat though as our tour guide said the boat always spots some whale activity.
Then the swell started getting bigger, when one wave reached us on the top deck and drenched us we were starting to get a little worried but it all still seemed fun. I love it when there is a bit of swell makes the boat trip exciting.
The crew handed out small plastic bags and one girl in my group put it on her head I said that’s a sick bag and she thought it was a rain hat.
But then the few drops of rain turned into a full-on downpour. The boat was rocking so much everything was going flying, people were slipping and sliding everywhere. I had a rain hat on but it was no use I was soaking wet.
The crew put on life jackets and said we all had to go to the lower deck. This was easier said than done though as I couldn’t even stand up. Someone carried my bag, held my hand and we grabbed the railings and worked our way to the front of the boat to the stairs to go down a level, holding on for dear life. I was sure someone was going to go overboard.
I hate stairs at the best of times but this was very nerve-wracking as I just imagined falling but the crew were great and helped us all down.
However, when I got to the lower level I was greeted by a group of passengers being sea sick. This is my worse nightmare as I have Emetophobia, a fear of being sick and I was surrounded by people vomiting into sick bags and making the loudest retching noises. I love the swell of the sea it is not that which makes me feel sick but seeing and hearing others that makes me want to vomit myself.
The boat was rocking even more and the crew looked frightened which started to scare me. I started to imagine all sorts of things and was working out what I would do if the boat suddenly capsized but my brain wouldn’t calm down enough to think rationally.
After what seemed like hours but was probably only about 5 minutes we had passed through the storm the rain stopped the swells shrunk and the boat stopped rocking. Then the sun came out as though nothing had happened.
We were told the storm was over and we could go back upstairs. The boat still rocking slightly and I managed it to the top of the stairs and took the first seat I could find and plonked myself down.
But then it was magical as we spotted our first sprouts of water which meant a whale was near. The boat moved closer and we got a glimpse of a blue whale. We saw a few more and it was then worth going through the nightmare for me to see my first blue whale in the wild. Unfortunately, there was no breaching but it was still a great experience to see whales in Sri Lanka. Luckily it has not put me off future whales watching trips.
When we were told we would have to head back to shore, I started to dread the return but thankfully the storm had passed and we had a smooth journey back and still with a few green faced passengers we got back to port in Mirissa.
I did this tour with my G Adventures group I was touring Sri Lanka with and our tour leader he said he does this trip every couple of weeks and has never experienced a storm so do not let my adventure put you off.
It is worth going whale watching in Mirissa just make sure you don’t have a full stomach and take some sea sickness prevention just in case.
Interested in Wildlife Read about Spotting Elephants in Sri Lanka
Best time to see Blue Whales in Sri Lanka
The best time to spot whales in Mirissa is November to April. However I went in August and they can still be seen but the seas are much rougher so it might not be a good experience as I found out. Whales can also be seen in the North of Sri Lanka in Trincomalee
Places to stay in Mirissa
I stayed about 30 minutes drive from Mirissa in Unawatuna the beach here is beautiful and there seems to be more going on here than in Mirissa.
Cocobay Unawatuna 4-St
No:10/4,Roomassala Road, Roomassala, Unawatuna Beach, Unawatuna, 80600, Sri Lanka
Beach front hotel Book Here
Thaproban Beach House 3-Star
Wella Devala Road, Unawatuna, 80600, Sri Lanka
Mandara Resort 4-Star
416 A Pelena Mirissa, Weligama, 81740, Sri Lanka
Beach front with Spa Book Here
If you enjoyed this article about Sri Lanka, these may be of interest :
Have you spotted a whale in the wild comment below and tell me about your experience.
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- Original article 2017 updated in February 2019