Blue Whales have long captured our imagination, but until now eluded opportunity for close encounters. Swimming and freediving with the largest animal that ever lived stands as a rare regret in David Attenborough’s colourful career, but armed with greater knowledge on where to locate them, we hope to deliver on what so far has been a dream to many.
Blue Whale populations around the world fell to almost catastrophically low levels at the height of whaling; but in Sri Lanka at least, there has been a resurgence in population levels of these and other species of cetacean. Blue Whales are uniquely resident in tropical waters here in Sri Lanka, since they are able to feed year-round on krill – a source of food more commonly associated with Antarctica.
For a few weeks in March to early April, Blue Whales usually appear in good numbers off the coast of eastern Sri Lanka. This is a time when North East Monsoon winds are fading and we can head out in small fast boats in search of opportunities to snorkel with Blue Whales and other cetaceans as opportunities present themselves.
In addition to Blue Whales, March and April are the best months to see Beaked Whales and aggregations of Bryde’s Whales. This is also within the prime period to see Pilot Whales and False Killer Whales, whose season here is March to June. Sperm whales are another distinct possibility in March; with a high chance of Spinner Dolphins in pods of several hundred at a time, performing spectacular acrobatics.
Permits to snorkel with whales in Sri Lanka are highly restricted and we can only take four snorkellers per boat. We will do so this March starting early each morning with licence to stay out for a maximum of 6 hours. Subject to weather, we will do this for 5 days. Please bear in mind that we are dealing with Nature, so there are no guarantees – just that every effort will be made to be successful, yet respectful so as not to harass marine life.
There will be communication between our boats to help each other to locate whales. On some occasions we may be alone on a whale – other times we will need to take it in turns. For all but Beaked Whales and Sperm Whales, we should not need to travel more than 22km (12 nm) offshore.
Whilst in the area, we will also take you to some of the best coral reef in Sri Lanka. Alot of the coral coast of this island was damaged in the tsunami which hit on Boxing Day of 2017. You will see broken coral lifted onto the coast of pigeon island - but in the shallows, staghorn corals in particular have been fast to come back and amongst them lives some large and healthy black-tip reef sharks and hawksbill turtles.
March 2019: Small Group Itinerary
You will be met on arrival at Colombo Airport and transferred to your nearby hotel, where you will meet up with your small team of snorkel mates and enjoy a welcome dinner.
Day 2: Overland to Trinco
After breakfast, we will drive right across Sri Lanka to Trincomalee. This drive will take approx. 6 hours and we will make a couple of stops enroute.
We will reach our beachside hotel in time to settle into our rooms before meeting for dinner looking out to sea.
Days 3 - 7: In Search of Blue Whales
We will head out early each day, looking for Blue Whales and other cetaceans in small boats which carry just 4 snorkellers. There will be communication between our boats to help each other to locate whales. On some occasions we may be alone on a whale – other times we will need to take it in turns.
For all but Beaked Whales, we should not need to travel more than 22km (12 nm) offshore.
We will have the afternoons free to reflect on the morning's activity… and though not included, we can engage in other watersports if we wish, such as diving, SUP, windsurfing, kayaking and more.
Ralph will also be able to arrange a trip into Trincomalee to see the Koneswaram Kovil monument:
Day 8: Overland to Colombo
We will check out in the morning and then drive back to Colombo in time to catch evening flights out … or we can make arrangements for you to stay and see more of Sri Lanka – before or after this experience. Please Contact Us to discuss your options.
06 - 13 Mar 2020
Trip begins and ends: Colombo Airport
Single supplement: £545
Our price includes:
- 5 x 6 hour searches for Blue Whales
- All accommodation
- All transportation within Sri Lanka
- Evening meals
- All breakfasts Lunches in Trinco
- Guidance and hosting by Aqua-Firma leader, boat skippers and local
- Snorkel gear if needed
- Snacks & meals not listed above
- Weights & weight belt for freediving ($50 for the 5 days)
- Additional activities such as scuba dives, kayaking, SUP