In the previous post we explored Sigirya fortresss. In this post lets explore the famous tourist destination Mirissa. It is a small coastal town in the southern province of Srilanka near Matara City. Needless to say beaches in this bay region are flooded with tourists and we can find a resort in every corner.
Mirissa is famous for Surf schools and we can get boards for rent too.It would be a nice experience to walk along this wonderful bay in evening. Apart from spending leisure time at beach and water sports,the major attraction here is Whale Watching and it requires little planning.
Ideal time for whale watching is early morning because whales will start to move away from coast during day. Considering this i reached Mirissa in evening,spent time in beach and stayed overnight there with the plan of covering Mirissa to Bentota in a day.Next day ,vacated the room early morning and left for fishing harbor. We can find lot of boats getting filled for whale watching and they charge 3500-4000 LKR depending up on the boat. I would recommend to chose upper deck for better view.
Sailors are aware of nautical miles at which whales can be spotted. It took almost 2 hours to reach mid sea and by that time most were vomiting and slept. If you are new to mid sea adventures please do take proper food and precautions.We can't avoid burns and tan due to harsh sun and salty wind. Best place in the boat is to stand in edge and yes you will be drenched in sea water and you won't get any balance for photography .
Once the boats reached mid sea, sailors slowed down their engines and move patiently without noise.We can't predict where and which direction whale can be spotted. Suddenly we can see small fountain coming out from sea somewhere in distance which is a indication that whale is taking breath there, then every boat will storm towards that direction in top notch.
Like a cinema action sequence , boats surrounded that region where breath came out. Sensing this movement from boats,whale will attempt to threat us and move away.The Largest mammal needs to come out for a fraction of second before taking deep dive and we are waiting for that only.
After the breath fountain, we can see big bubbles coming out which is a clear indication that whale is going to come out and change its direction.
In the next second we can see the whale body. By now whale would have realized that boats are coming towards it and will attempt to threat us and escape by deep diving in to sea. Whale needs to perform tail slap ( vertically upside down) to deep dive.
And here it comes,gotcha !! Tail slap. Whale performs Tail slap to take deep dive. It is kind of warning for boats saying "i'm here move away" and a danger signal for other whales to move away. Everything will be over in fraction of seconds ! If you are lucky you can spot them. If you want to spot a whale i would highly recommend to stand in edge than sitting in seats because you can view all directions.I was determined to shoot them and as a result i was fully drenched and so was camera. so wear accordingly and be prepared.
We can spot 4-5 whales in one hour and after that boat will return to the harbor.It will take around 4-5 hours and will be a good adventure to cherish :) On the way out, took a walk along the harbor and saw fishermen weaving nets,selling fresh fish in retail etc..Later headed towards Galle.
Next to Mirissa,near the village welligama we can see fishermen doing a unique style of fishing called stilt fishing .The fishermen sit on a cross bar called "petta" tied to a vertical pole and driven into the sand a few meters offshore. From this high position,fishermen holds their rod and patiently waits.Its kind of traditional fishing style in this bay for the past few generations. Interacted with them and tried my hands in fishing but no luck:) Later pursued my journey.
So we have explored Mirrisa in half a day ,and will write about the other half in next post.
Your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.
See you soon !