Balaenoptera musculus

After my encounters with the reef sharks, I was longing for more underwater creatures. But to find the biggest ones of them all, snorkeling gear was clearly not enough. Even a full diving equipment wouldn’t help much. So I hopped onto a whale watching boat in Mirissa.

the first boat out

And yes, the captain found them. Blue Whales, Balaenoptera musculus, according to the leaflet we got 150 to 170 metric tons in weight and 23 to 30 meters long. Only the tongue weights 2,7 metric tons and the heart is the size of a small car. But clearly we didn’t see any of these organs – we were happy with the fins and tails.

big guy

They have a very tall narrow blow up to ten meters high. Typically the whales we saw were moving just underneath the surface, blowing every couple of seconds, and then, at some point, bending, coming out further, in order to start diving. Only then one could see the tail flukes.





When I travelled to New Zealand ten years ago, I missed my chance to see whales, so I’m very glad I finally managed to. Actually the operators claim the seas off Sri Lanka are the best spot in the world to see blue and sperm whales. Their success rate in season is 90 percent. I don’t know if that is true – it worked for me.

tail fluke

It was only in 2006 that people in Sri Lanka discovered something big was lurking in the waters off the southern coast. The blue whales are migrating between the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, passing by the Sri Lankan coast. So since 2008, almost everyone with a boat in Mirissa goes out for whale-watching safaris, they say. But we still managed to see some fishing boats.


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