Sri Lanka has been known to the world for many reasons. It has been the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Rathnadeepa, due to the world renowned gems. But now the time has come for a new branding. "Island of Whales"
Definitely Sri Lanka will be known to the world as the best place to see the biggest Whales of the world. Even now many tourists visit Mirissa in down south Sri Lanka to capture the amazing views of these giants of the sea.
Recently HTV received a call from Rev Kusaladhamma a priest from a temple in Nagoda. Surprisingly it was not a common request for a coverage in the temple but an invitation to go on a very special tour to see whales.
While thanking earnestly for our honorable viewer of HTV, I did not waste any time in deciding the coverage on the closest available date.
Our travel began around 6.30 am on 15th January 2017 from Mirissa harbor. More than 50 boats were ready to take the local and foreign tourists to the sea. However the size and the prize of each boat was different. Our guide Ranil from "Raja and the Whales" who was a very knowledgeable and a true environmentalist was of the view that it is a pity that some boats charge less but ignore the fact that the tourists need to be given a worthwhile tour with proper explanations.
To our surprise a delicious plate of fruits was served within few minutes. Eventhough I was under the impression that taking food before a boat ride was inviting for trouble I could not say no to the breakfast as it contained nine different varieties of fruits.
Around 10.00am after a fine breakfast treat we managed to see the first Whale who had come to the surface. But surprisingly Ranil and his crew had no plans to stop and show us the amazing creature. In fact they were avoiding the rush of the boats making it less disturbing to the whale also. The Whales do not stay for more than few minutes on the surface. Their prime need to come on surface is to breath. As soon as its done the diving happens making it one of the best moments to get a memorable photo.
Like the first Whale, we saw 4 other Whales in different directions. Then only Ranil decided to slow down and let us take a good look of the 6th and the 7th Whale. By this time there were only two boats to witness this amazing scene and they both were from Raja's. Undoubtedly the tour has been one of my best adventures so far. My team of HTV comprised of Dimuth, Damith, Jananjana and Sandun. As the tour began I could not resist the need to act as a cameraman. Dimuth and I did not waste a minute of this experience of a life time which will be a travel documentary of HTV very soon. Damith who joined as the still photographer was also a very happy man with the tour. Sadly the two young members who wanted to have a new experience became victims of sea sickness but still managed to see the rare Blue Whales.
For today I wish to end here and let Lahiru to update our photos and start my editing with Lakmal who are waiting eagerly to join our second tour very soon. The facts of the tour and the knowledge gained due to the association of Ranil will be brought to you as soon as the documentary "Island of Whales" is released on Heritage Television.
Hema Nalin Karunarane.