Thursday, 11 February 2016

Sri Lanka Whale Watching with Zoothera

So as a short couple of days extension to our already very successful main tour seeing ALL the endemic birds, several of us continued on to Marissa on the coast. Our glorious beachside hotel offered fabulous views over the Indian Ocean, and during the next two days we embarked on 2 full morning trips out in search of Whales and Dolphins.
These Spinner Dolphins put on a great show and we enjoyed at least four separate sightings of these species with the above group containing at least 20 individuals.
This mother and baby were in the same group as above.
Whale sightings had been scarce over the last four days so expectations were not that great, but our first morning did find a fabulous Orca (Killer Whale) which showed off perfectly.
The next day we were lucky enough to encounter a Bryde's Whale. This whale was named after the Norwegian whaler Bryde's but is pronounced 'broodess'. We had great views of this whale before leaving and heading further out to sea.
We also saw 3 Striped Dolphins porpoising under the bow of our boat and a couple of Bottle-nosed Dolphins. Amongst the birds were mostly flocks of Whiskered Terns with a few Crested Terns, Roseate Terns and some Bridled and Sooty Terns.
Whale watching has become very popular over recent years from Marissa and in fact to the point that I would now consider it invasive as we counted no less than 22 boats in pursuit of the Bryde's Whale with many of these I believe following it for several hours. This to be honest is unacceptable especially as one of the largest of the boast was a government owned boat who should have been regulating this to prevent unnecessary disturbance. A lot of the boats were jam packed with tourist out to see a whale and most of these no no better. The problem is that most boat companies say they are whale friendly and do not chase the whales. Yet every boat I saw was in hot persuit of any whale in sight. It is important to know that you should try not to use the touristy whale watching trips which are of course a little cheaper but to try and use a responsible company. The company we use is Blue water Cruise  the boat was large and could easily hold 50 - 60 people but on each trip there was only our small group of 6 plus 4 others so plenty of room. The crew when asked to retreat from watching the Bryde's Whale complied and we set off on our own in search of other species. Try to use companies that really do not chase whales!!!!
Theses fishing boats were fun to watch crashing over the waves!

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