SRI LANKAN BLUE WHALE
SNORKELING 2017 TRIP REPORT
Sri Lanka Blue Whale
Snorkeling 2017 in a
nutshell: Incredible encounters - after two
decades of big animal encounters on land and under the
ocean, I am humbled, awed and now utterly frustrated. Read
An almost perfect trip
that we may never have a chance to repeat.
I'm going to keep this short because there is
no point harping on about an amazing trip that can't be
repeated. This year we chartered the brand new Sri Lanka
Aggressor to take us out to snorkel with blue whales for one
week. The boat had some teething trouble like leaky plumbing
and some stability issues but overall it was a well
appointed vessel that probably would have become a star of
the fleet after a little TLC.
Leaving Colombo we motored down to Mirissa; a
small town on the south coast of Sri Lanka that is well
known as blue whale central. Our permit allowed us to work
on the edges of the best action which is monopolized by the
local whale watching boats. Fortunately, there were enough
blue whales in the area for us to have great
encounters everyday except one.
On that day we motored up the west coast to
see if we could find a new spot with less restrictions but
the gamble didn't pay off. That night we hurried back to
Mirissa and continued enjoying consistent sightings of blue
whales. Each day we had the chance to get multiple jumps
from the chase boats. Many of these resulted in very close
encounters with the largest animal that has ever lived. It
was humbling and utterly awe inspiring.
While at sea, we also saw a variety of
dolphins and managed to rescue a olive ridley sea turtle
from a fishing net but the trip was utterly dominated by
On our last day we stumbled upon a group of
three adults; possible a female with two male suiters. Not
only did this group allow us to swim almost within touching
distance from them, they also returned time after time to
repeat the experience. Clearly the whales were as curious
about us as we were about them; a reaction that I did not
expect from such large, mysterious creatures.
Motoring back to Colombo with a boat load of
exhausted, happy guests, I envisioned many successful future
encounters. Then news trickled in from the ship's owners
that they had decided to break away from the Aggressor fleet
and return their ship to the Red Sea. I still cannot quite
fathom why this happened - no doubt the answer is not a
simple one - but we are now scrambling to find another
operator with a permit to enter the water with blue whales.
In January, the Sri Lankan government tightened their
cetacean interaction access and pulled all permits that had
been issued to smaller boat operators. To our knowledge,
there is currently no other operator in Sri Lanka with a
valid permit so this excellent trip is back on the wish list
until that changes.
In the mean time, keep an eye on our website.
As soon as we make progress we'll load a new trip.
OF THE PROCEEDS FROM BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS FUNDS
THE PREDATORS IN