A whale lover’s dream…
This ‘Swim with Blue Whales’ tour is an extraordinary opportunity – come snorkelling with the largest mammals that have ever lived!
From late February to late March each year, Blue whales are spending their time in the warm, clear coastal waters of north-eastern area of Sri Lanka, feasting on huge clouds of nutrient rich krill in the huge ocean canyons, just off the coast. We will be there with these wondrous beings. We may also find ourselves swimming with pods of sperm whales!
We will be heading out into this wide bay on each of our 7 whale-watching days with a passionate and dedicated crew. They are experts in taking people to swim with with these magnificent leviathans and are the very same team that helped facilitate the filming of the blue whales for the BBC Blue Planet II series.
See Visa requirement for Sri Lanka below. . .
UPDATE! Due to the political upheaval in Sri Lanka our 2023 tours are ‘ON HOLD’
Swim with Blue whales in Sri Lanka
9-nights & 7 x 6 hour trips in 3 boats – with the whales. 10 people maximum on each tour.
- 1 night at the Cinnamon Red hotel in Colombo with dinner & breakfast, includes airport transfers on arrival
- Air-conditioned bus transfer with 2 comfort stops on the way
- 8 nights in Beachside rooms with ensuite bathrooms, right on the edge of the sand over looking the Bay of Bengal in the north-eastern Indian ocean
- A full breakfast daily | lunches aboard the whale boat | evening meals.
- 7 days on the water with opportunities to snorkel with marine-life such as sperm blue whales, whales, beaked whales, pilot whales, false killer whales, several species of dolphin and turtle.
- Lots of fun!
- All return international flights to/from Colombo, local flights/buses/taxis return transfers from/to international airport – other than the airport arrival transfer to Cinnamon Red
- Laundry at hotel
- Snorkelling gear
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- Extra cost over standard dinner rate – for meals at other restaurants in the resort.
- Travel insurance
- Weigh belts (available at extra cost 60USD only if wearing a heavier wetsuit)
Arrival Day in Colombo:
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Arrive/check-in at your Cinnamon Red Hotel (twin share) 6.30pm: Meet fellow-whaleswimmers | dinner. Transfer Day: Breakfast | Board 14-seater bus at hotel – 2 comfort stops enroute to Resort – check-in | Welcome dinner Day 1: Early Breakfast | 7.00am board whaleswim boats on the beach | boat briefing |out with the whales | how to swim with whales training | lunch | lots of fun | return to resort beach | dinner. Day 2 – 8: Breakfast | board whaleswim boats 0n the beach | out with the whales| snorkelling at Pigeon Island if time permits | lots of fun | return to resort beach | dinner (Farewell dinner on last night). Day 9: Breakfast | End of tour | transfers are available to the airport or bus/taxi to Colombo will pick you up at the resort.
Please Note: It is very rare to have rough seas during Feb/March, however with the changes in weather patterns around the world, we can not guarantee calm seas every day.
If we do have a day with rough weather, then we will replace the day on the sea with a visit to a nearby Wildlife Park (home to elephants, leopard, sloth bear, Sambar Deer, Sri Lankan Axis Deer, Chevrotain, Wild boar, monkeys & crocodiles).
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Sri Lanka is known for its rich marine treasures. Not only is it the home to the largest population of blue whales in the world, it is a known feeding area for pods of sperm whales during the same season. You may have the opportunity to snorkel with some of the eleven species of whales that reside around the island of Sri Lanka, including blue whales, sperm whales, beaked whales, pilot whales, false killer whales and you may also see up to fifteen different species of dolphins.
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This is a snorkelling only expedition. Blue whales and other Sri Lankan cetaceans may be enormous but they are also very shy animals. Noisy scuba equipment would frighten the whales into a deep dive so it is far better if we take a minimalist approach.
This encounter requires nothing more than a swimsuit and rashie, a light 1.5m – 2m top/shortie/wetsuit if you tend to get cold, mask, snorkel, fins and (free diving fins are permitted but ONLY if you are a very experienced free diver). The water is a warm 24C – 26C and the air around 28 – 32C. Please note: Your neoprene will dry very quickly and then heat up. If its its heavier than 2m thick, you will get very hot!
The local whale-watching vessels are basic. We have chartered 3 x 4 x seater 8m timber boats with a protective canopy to protect you from the sun. We enter the water by sitting on the side of the boat and slipping quietly into the water. Re-entry is via a ladder hooked over the side – you need flexibilty to swing your legs over the side into the boat.
There is very limited room on board so a small dry-bag – with hat, sunscreen, lip balm, mask de-fogger, a strong refillable water bottle, snacks and your camera gear is all there is space for. Water (to refill your bottle), lunch and some snacks will be provided. If you have some favorite snacks, please bring them with you.
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Days on the water . . .
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We will start at 8am and out on the water for around 6 hours for each of our 7 days on the ocean. It can take up to an hour or more to reach the deep underwater canyons were the Blue whales (and Sperm whales if they are around) feed at this time of the year. There are several of these huge canyons, just offshore in the area.
Our boats are equipped with very quiet 4 stroke engines that can get us quickly to the right place as the whales approach and, when the time is right, we will be entering the water as unobtrusively as possible and observing these magnificent mammals swimming past us. We may also have opportunities to snorkel around a small island in the area. Its rich with reef-life and different species of turtles. Our priority is your safety and respect for these wondrous animals.
Getting to Colombo, Sri Lanka
Gear you will need to bring on the boat
Snorkelling Experience required
Please note: this is an ocean adventure holiday and you will need to be very fit, flexible, confident in the water and be able to snorkel well and fast. We are often getting in and out of the boat into the ocean, sometimes snorkelling quickly for up to 40m and occasionally with the whales in choppy seas.
Although Blue whales are 30m (100 ft) and weigh up to 180 tons, they are gentle animals and are very aware of us in the water and are very shy. The thought of being so close to them may be frightening but after your first encounter you will understand why they are known as the giants of the ocean. Once spotted by the skipper, he will position the boat ahead of the path and then you need to slide off the boat very quickly and very quietly and snorkel to the area indicated by our guide or skipper. If you are slow, you may not even get a glimpse for the whale.
It is very important for you to know that all of the in-the-water encounters with Blue whales will be in very deep water and 7 or 8 km from land.. If you feel that your swimming and snorkelling skills could be improved, or that you are a little unfit, we suggest that you enrol in snorkelling lessons and improve your swimming skills and fitness levels prior to joining your tour to insure the best encounters possible.