Extent of whale and dolphin watching
Tourism in Sri Lanka has been on the rise since the cessation of many years of unrest in 20091. One of the fastest growing tourism industries is the whale watching industry, and Sri Lanka is rapidly gaining fame in the whale -watching world for the opportunities to observe blue whales in at least two different locations between December and July. Other whale and dolphin species are opportunistically observed during tours, but blue whales are definitely the most frequent target of tours.
Target species, peak times of year and locations:
The three main whale and dolphin watching areas in Sri Lanka are Mirissa in the south-west, Trincomalee in the north-east and Kalpitiya on the northwest coast. The most frequently targeted species of whale for whale watching in Sri Lanka is the blue whale, which can be observed off the coast of Mrissa between December and March, and off Trincomalee between March and July. Bryde’s whales and sperm whales are sometimes also opportunistically observed during trips that are focused on blue whales. Whale watching platforms range in size from small boats seating 4-6 passengers to large double-decked vessels taking up to 300 passengers. Even the Sri Lankan Navy offers whale watching tours! Tours sometimes head up to 20 km offshore, so vessels need to be large and powerful enough to cope with longer journeys and potentially rough sea conditions.