BEST OF BLUE
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2008). Best of Blue. Serendib, the in-flight magazine of Sri Lankan. July – August 2008. Page 24.
A short article on the discovery that Sri Lanka is the best place in the world for seeing together Blue Whales and Sperm Whales.
A pod of Long-snouted Spinner Dolphins ‘porpoised’ a few hundred meters in front of the boat. We had traveled for less than forty minutes from Mirissa Harbour before our first encounter with cetaceans. I was on board with marine biologist Dr Charles Anderson and two of his clients. We continued on and soon after we encountered a Blue Whale. Well, perhaps we may stop for a while and I could take a few images of the largest animal that has ever lived on this planet. Not this time. In the quest for sperm whales we passed the Blue Whale. Blue Whales are thinly spread and very difficult to see. I can imagine an incredulous reader wondering how could a group of photographers pass a Blue Whale without pausing to photograph it?
The boat continued on, pass the second, then the third, then the fourth and the fifth, yes the fifth Blue Whale. I would have been shocked into dis-belief if I did not already know what was going on. By the time I boarded the boat with Charles, I had already been out a few times on my own and realised that Blue Whales were very easy to see and photograph in the seas South of Dondra Head, the southern most point in Sri Lanka. Charles and his clients, they together with Lighthouse naturalist Anoma Alagiyawadu had already encountered and photographed several Blue Whales and were now focussing on their main quarry.
For three decades Sri Lanka had suffered the misconception that it’s whale watching prospects lay around Trincomalee. Charles Anderson had deduced from his marine research in the Maldives that a migration of whales would be taking place off Dondra in December on their way to the Bay of Bengal and back again in April on their way to the Arabian sea to feed on the up-wellings off Somalia. The first evidence for the theory surfaced when Simon Scarff and Sue Evans who were training the boat crew from Mirissa Water Sports began to report their encounters with whales in the Sri Lanka Wildlife eNewsletter compiled by me. One thing led to another and by the April of 2008 I was ready to break some exciting news to the world. Sri Lanka is probably the best place in the world to see and photograph Blue Whales and is almost certainly the best for seeing Blue Whales and Sperm Whales together.