In recent years, Sri Lanka earned the reputation to be the "biggest" destination for whale watchers, both for the Blue Whales and for Sperm Whale and at the same place, namely at the south coast. Most whale watching boat trips start in Mirissa, which had been, first and formeost, an insider beach destination for backpackers in the late 20th century, before it became a real hub for whale watchers from all over the world. Big observation boats for three dozens of passengers and speed boats for a maximum of ten persons are available. Tours start in the very early morning around 6 or 7 o’clock and last about 4 hours, this is the best time to maximize chances to see whales. The sea would be too rough in the afternoon.
Whale watching season in Mirissa is from December to April, end of March and begin of April (usually Easter holidays time) being the peak season offering highest chances to observe both most impressive species of marine mammals. Bryde´s whales, Fin whales and sometimes even Orcas (so-called “killer whales”) can be seen on those boat tours, too. Dolphin watching is an additional attraction of Mirissa. Besides Common Dolphins, also Bottlenose Dolphins, Spinner Dolphins, Risso's Dolphins and Striped Dolphins occur only a few kilometres offshore from Mirissa. Occasionally, you can see Bluefin Tuna and flying fish, too. The numbers of blue whales, the high chances to spot them and the enourmous variety of whale species combined are the reason, why Sri Lanka’s south coast is most probably the best place for whale watching in the entire world.
However, whale and dolphin watching in Mirissa is definitely one of the most exciting water activities nature lovers can do in Sri Lanka during their holidays. But you should be aware, that every boat tour is disturbing the whales. Therefore you should only use services of local whale watching companies that follow international whale watching rules to protect whales also during the whale watching. Regrettably for guests, this means: You should not go too close to the whales and don´t cross whale´s course. Experienced boatmen will reduce speed to
lessen the noise of the motor noise when approaching the whales. Stopping the engines completely has the advantage, that dolphins and some whales dare to come closer to the boat. Touching sea animals, trying to feed them or leaving any garbage should be strictly prohibited.
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