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The whale watching season in Sri Lanka usually runs from November to April and May, while for the rest of the year, the waters are too rough due to the monsoon season. Mirissa, fortunately, is among the best places to spot whales in Sri Lanka. The waters around this premier travel destination are particularly rich in plankton. This is believed to be the reason for the presence of a resident population of whale pods, which results in fantastic whale sightings when the weather conditions are good.
Which company to choose
There is a huge choice of whale watching tour operators in Mirissa, and almost all of them charge more or less the same price. Do make sure to choose the company carefully because not all of them have the well-being of these gentle giants in mind. For example, some tour operators try to get really close to the whales, which only serves to stress and frighten the mammals. A competent and ethical tour company will keep a careful distance from the pods to prevent this from happening.
The Price of a whale watching tour
As with a majority of tourist attractions on the island, prices have been increasing a lot over the years. Usually, a whale-watching safari costs around LKR 6,000 per person. The tours usually last for one hour and start with an early morning boat ride at around 6.30 am. If you make it a point to visit during the whale watching season, the chance of seeing whales are quite high.
Responsible whale watching tourism
Tour operating companies who care about the well-being of whales are committed to conducting responsible whale watching tours and ensure to abide by the regulations put in place by the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS). Raja & the Whales are a highly recommended tour company, that meets all the WDC requirements which one can consider checking out.
Spotting the whales
Blue whales are the largest creatures on the planet, measuring up to over 30 meters in length, and lucky for you, happen to live only a few miles off the famed Southern Coast of the teardrop isle. The art of spotting these magnificent creatures lies in mastering their breathing patterns and behavior. The blue whales, in particular, can hold their breath underwater for approximately 30 minutes before they surface for air. Since they can’t breathe through their mouth, they rely solely on their blowholes. When they break the surface, they sprout air which is the first sign to look out for. As with most wildlife safaris, whale watching is a test of patience and a waiting game. A good tour operator will know the signs to watch out for along with the best spots for whale sightings.