Sri Lanka 🇱🇰: Whales 🐳 & Dolphins 🐬 in Mirissa

The journey from Tissamaharama was painless and actually fun. We took the bus to Matara for next to no cost (Rp 540 / U$3 for both including luggage) – a bus that wasn’t as crowded as the one we let pass in Ella (and took a cab instead). There was even some decent on board entertainment – Sri Lanka cover rock. Not bad.

From Matara it was a 20min tuk tuk ride to Mirissa – the whale watch center of Sri Lanka. You are well advised to stay in the village as 🐳 tours start early (expect 6am pickup). We booked ourselves into Swedish run Satori private rooms and recommend it – good size, A/C and private beach (accessed through Satori hostel).

We had a tasty chicken and cheese roti for dinner before hitting the lively Mirissa beach for a few happy hour cocktails.

The night finished early yet again, as we prepared for our 5.50am pick up. The harbour was still sleepy. On our way out we saw several fishing boats coming back in with the mornings catch. The sunrise was truly amazing!

Type of whales

The main type of whale you spot around Mirissa is the blue whale. Blue whales are the largest animals ever known to have lived on Earth. These giant marine mammals are up to 30 meters long and weight upwards of 200 tons.Blue whales are baleen whales, they have “baleen plates” instead of teeth. Baleen, is made of keratin just like fingernails and hair. Each whale has many plates that hang down from its upper jaw, one after the other. It’s diet is small crustaceans known as krill (blue whale eat krill (2-4 tons per day).

We didn’t have to wait too long as a large group of dolphins came into sight. Beautiful animals that seemingly like the attention all the tourist boats offered.

On to the whales! We followed the route other boats had taken. They were lined up on the horizon already watching a whale in his 10min cycle of diving and breathing (10-25sec on surface). Pity you only see a fraction of the total body – still enormous animals!

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Suriname 🇸🇷: Dolphin spotting on Suriname and Commewijne river

On our second afternoon in Paramaibo we decided to see some dolphin’s and booked a boat tour (€27,50 including 3 free drinks 🍻 🍷🥤). The tour leaves from Pier van Leonberg (15min, SRD30 from city center) and takes about 3h.

We first followed the Suriname river, which is probably the widest i have been on and an adventure in itself with nice views of marina’s, water front properties and Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. It is the delta close to the sea and hence carries salt water. Later on we turned into the Commewijne river, which carries sweet water. Where both rivers meet is the place where the delpin’s like to hunt their prey.

Laura’s comment: I have never seen delphins in a river. Very memorable! 🐬 🐬 🐬

In this area live the grey river delphins or Guiana delphins (wikipedia). They grow up to 2.2m long and weigh up to 240kg. Each day a dolphin consumes between 4-9% of their body weight in food… So 11 to 23kg each day. If i had to eat the same i’d be 3-7kg a day!

Very playful animals these little dolphins. They are attracted by clapping and apparently singing. However, it appears the boat of another tour had the better artists on board getting a lot more close up attention from the 🐬 than we did. 🤨

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Half way through the tour we stopped for some surinamese snacks at the local village of Johan & Magaretha – a former plantation. It was predominantly populated by indian people ans as so many other places pretty poor. I ended up talking mostly with fellow travellers from holland about their time in Suriname and got some valuable tips.

We headed back around sunset taking in the vivid colours until it was pitchblack and time for dinner. Nice trip.