Whale-watching in Mirissa
Bloggers Carlos and Julie, who are on a year-long
adventure throughout Asia, write about a 'wow' moment experienced in Sri
Beautiful sunset over Mirissa Beach
After our Yala National Park safari for spotting leopards, we decided
to go for a similar experience, but this time in the water.Famous for
its timeless beach, Mirissa is a coastal city in the southern extremity
of Sri Lanka and one of the best spots in the country to watch dolphins
and whales. Even though the best season runs from November to April,
whales sighting were still guaranteed during our visit, which was pretty
With an early start, we headed for the fishing port of Mirissa, where
the boat departed from. The ride to the first stop (for dolphins) took
about an hour and was one of the rockiest we've ever been on.
The boat swayed up and down like a mere puppet in the mighty Indian
Ocean's hands. Many of the tourists took sea sickness tablets before
departure, but that didn't seem to do much. We've never seen so many
people throw up at the same time. The staff were frantically trying to
provide enough plastic bags in time.
When the first dolphins were spotted, however, people seemed to hold
it together at least long enough to appreciate the pods jumping in the
distance. There were many of them, perhaps dozens. They all seemed to be
putting on a synchronized swimming show. The pictures don't nearly do
justice to what we saw in person.
Blue whale shooting water
After a few minutes gazing at these graceful mammals, we moved on to
the main attraction - the whales! It didn't take longuntil one of the
guides on the boat spotted one. For the rest of us,the only visible sign
was the impressive water jet being shot into the air.
As we approached, a big dark blue hump could be seen emerging from
the water like a submarine. It was a giant blue whale, the largest of
all of the living animals and the heaviest to have ever lived, weighing
As everybody wowed in admiration, the huge mammal exposed the tail of
its 30m long body and descended for a feast (blue whales can eat more
than 40 million krills per day!).
Being mammals, whales can't breathe underwater and usually surface
every 20min or so to take new air in (they can hold their breaths for up
to 90min though). Knowing that, we patiently waited for the whale to
come back up.
Just in time, the huge whale gently rose back to the surface for the
delight of the tourists. My hope was that it jumped out of the water,
just like the dolphins, leaving a huge splash behind.
Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Even I knew that was too much to
wish for. We watched the whole process a second time and headed back to
the shore after the third. It was a nice experience to be so close to
these giants and see them in their natural habitat. Mirissa Beach
Besides whale-watching, the other main reason for visiting Mirissa was
its beach. What it lacked in length, it made up for in beauty. The small
white sand strip was flanked on one side by the tall side-growing palm
trees and on the other by the deep blue turbulent waters of the Indian
Ocean. Golden sun rays reflected on the water and completed the scenery.
On the eastern side of the beach, a small sand bank extended the
beach, forming a shallow sandy path that led to a rock pinnacle. From
the top, panoramic views of Mirissa beach and the smaller adjacent
beaches were breathtaking. We sat atop the rock pinnacle for a long
time, breathing in the ocean breeze, feeling more at peace than we had
in a long time.
In the distance, the ocean seemed like an endless blue sheet waving
in a hypnotic rhythm. Closer to the shore, its waves curled into a
perfect arch before unleashing their full power against the rocky
pinnacle. Not even the small bay area protected the beach from the
powerful waves. Mirissa was a quietly delightful surprise, with both the
whale-watching experience and its beach exceeding our expectations. We
could have stayed there for at least another week.
(The Asian adventure of Carlos and Julia can be
tracked on 'Our Globe Trek,')