Almost at the southern tip of Sri Lanka, Mirissa is blessed with great sun, sand, surf, food, people and marine life. No wonder people from the world over choose to spend their days soaking it in. We spent our last couple of days in Sri Lanka in this lovely, buzzing beach town.
Mirissa is only short drive away from Galle. We asked our regular tuk tuk driver to take us. The chill ride through sleepy beachside towns was quite refreshing.
We had arrived early. Our hotel room will not be available for at least a few hours. No point wasting time. We headed straight to Mirissa Dive Center for a spot of scuba diving.
Neither me nor wifey have dived before and it scares both of us just a bit. After what was a never ending wait, our dive masters are ready for us. We get our gear on and head to the shallow waters for a discovery dive. I am first in the water. The initial 5 minutes are proper scary and I cannot get my mind to relax. Wifey does significantly better even though she has only just learnt swimming. Soon, I catch on. The water is a bit muddy and there aren’t too many fish or coral here. The beach itself isn’t too far and there are too many boats around. Not the best spot visibility wise. We dive to a depth of 8 metres for what felt like an hour (actually it was more like 20 minutes). The dive masters stayed with us throughout and were excellent at getting us to relax and enjoy. Wifey also confirms that they felt very safe to work with.
All in all, I was happy. Wife was a little underwhelmed. We would have loved to see more fish or just have clearer waters but I guess we will leave it for the next time. Would very much recommend these guys if you intend to head that way.
We ended the day with drinks at the buzzing Mirissa beach. So many shacks. So much music. Perfect end to the day.
The next day we were up for a spot for whale watching. The seas south of Sri Lanka are teeming with blue whales and their relatively smaller cousins. From being poached heavily, the whales have now become the source of sustenance for a lot of boat crews in Mirissa. Every morning at 6, a dozen or so boats leave harbour in search of the elusive and shy blue whales. Sightings are quite common but the day before had passed without any sightings.
We are riding with Raja and the Whales, the only ones around who strictly follow the ecotourism guidelines for whale watching. Those include not chasing after the whales, approaching them from the right directions, avoiding any possibilities of injuries to the big fish and a lot of others. As the day wore on, we realise how important those principles are. The other dozen boats went out with a singular promise – to show the people a whale – and to achieve that the boatmen go to the point of chasing and molesting the gentle creature. If you intend to head there, I highly recommend you go with Raja.
After hours of trundling through the open ocean, we finally got around to solitary whale (they don’t really move around in groups). However, along with us, there were 7-8 other boats. The dance was set. Someone would spot the spout of the whale coming up to breathe. All the boats would rush in all at once (except us) like hungry hyenas. The sight was a little pathetic. In any case, we were in the dance now. One by one, boats kept getting close to the whale, fulfilling their contractual obligations and returning to port. We decided to simply bid our time. An hour later, we are the only ones in the water along one more latecomer. We got to spend some quality time with our whale before eventually returning to the hotel.
Long, very sunny and essentially 2 minutes of excitement followed by 15 minutes of waiting and snoozing. It was well over 6 hours by the time we returned.
Video from the whale watch coming soon!
We spent the evening having a quiet drink at Mirissa Beach. Our last evening in this beautiful country was coming to an end. We sat at the beach reflecting on the lovely week we had just spent. We came into the country weary travellers. We were returning rejuvenated.
Sri Lanka, we will see you again.