Today was my last full day in Sri Lanka before I begin the long journey home tomorrow and I wanted to make the most of it. Late yesterday my tour guide Manoj suggested that the remaining members of the tour group; Isabel, Sarah and myself go on a whale watching safari which I was very happy to undertake.
Getting up at 5 am Manoj returned to the hotel with Isabel and Sarah (who wee staying at a different hotel) and took us to Mirissa which was about 45 kms away or around a 1.5 hours drive. This is the off season for whale watching but not because there aren’t whales, more because the sea is very rough. As a result the company keeps the boat safari to around 3 hours. Sea sickness tablets were offered to everyone but only one person accepted. Given I had survived the Drakes Passage I knew I’d be right, it turned out that one quarter of the passengers were not and got very sick during the journey.
For the first hour I mostly only got to enjoy the sea and the bouncing around on the rough waters, which actually was fun for me if not others. I missed seeing the first few whales sighted during that time as they always appeared to be on the opposite side of the boat (video). However in the second hour the whales started to be seen on my side of the boat. We mostly saw Blue Whales, these enormous but gentle creatures, as they surfaced for air and dived with their tails in the air. A great scene of nature at it’s best.
On the return back a couple of sandwiches and a bottle of water were handed out. Not actually the right thing for a lot of people on the boat who were struggling to hold down what was already in their stomachs 🙂
On our return to port we also got to see around 16 sea turtles. Occasionally I thought they would be flipped onto the top deck of our boat such was the rise and fall of the water.
On the return Manoj thought it would be a good idea to explore the Galle Fort further. Isabel and Sarah left the tour before the Test Match so hadn’t seen this area, while I only saw a little of the Fort during the lunch break of the Test Match.
Today I got a chance to seen the far walls, walls that survived the tsunami while everything else around was destroyed.
After lunch back at Hikkaduwa with Manoj, Sarah and Isabel I said goodbye one last time and walked back to my hotel with thoughts of tomorrow’s return home on my mind. The Southeast Asia trip is effectively over after 33 days crossing five different countries and a vast array of unique experiences from nature, to cultural, to history (good and horrific). I believe I’ve been enriched by these experiences.