DIVING WITH BLUE WHALES

Sri Lanka

March 18 – 28, 2018

  • Where: Sri Lanka
  • Duration: 9 days
  • Max No. of Guests: 5
  • Pricing: Please Inquire Below
  • Vessel: Water Spirit, 42′ catamaran
  • Activities: blue whale snorkeling, free diving
  • Temperature:
    • In-Water: 82 – 86° F (27 – 29° C)
    • On-Water: 60 – 80° F (16 – 27° C)

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ITINERARYDETAILSTERMS—CONDITIONS
Day 1
– Arrive in Colombo: transfer to for overnight stay at colonial time architecture Galle Face hotel.Day 2
– Depart the following morning by private coach to beach front Mosvold Villas in Weligama.

Day 3 – 8
– Six days, eight hours a days of blue whale snorkeling, and sperm whales too (animals permitting). Both lunch and water will be served on board. Bring maximum sun protection, long sleeved shirts, hats, and sunglasses for daily long distance cruising. Sea conditions are mostly calm to moderate, with rising winds in the afternoon.

Day 9
– We pack up for our return to Colombo in time for an early evening visit to the Galle Face hotel. Sri Lanka’s iconic historic waterfront hotel built in 1864 is located in the heart of Colombo.
– We provide you airport transfer according to your flight – majority of international flights depart late at night or in the early hours of the morning, just after midnight.

Here’s a taste of what you have to look forward to…

…on our third day of our blue whale snorkeling expedition, we were out about 9 miles from shore. The sky was cloudless and light blue with the sun brightly shining over our heads, and the sea was clear and calm. You just expected something to happen, like the calm before a storm.The crew searched the horizon while my guests were relaxing and falling asleep. The engine was off and we were motion- less and silent. The only sound I could hear was that of the boat bouncing against the surface of the water and the deep breathing of my guests.
The skipper wanted to move the boat but I declined; I knew we were in the right place. At about noon I heard a loud sound, but could not yet locate its direction.

Then came a second louder noise closely followed by a third one that was even closer. A Blue was only 50 feet away alongside our vessel. Quickly I woke up the two guests that were sleeping by my side, and I took position on the vessel’s edge. With my fins dangling in the cool water, mask on my face, camera in my hands, snorkel in my mouth, I held onto the vessel canopy, ready to enter the clear blue water, but it was not yet the righT time.

The whale swam just past us and now was in front of our vessel. Then a few minutes later one more blow was heard arriving from the stern of our vessel. A second blow was just behind us. I gave the signal to my two guests to enter the water as gently as possible. As I slid into the liquid environment, a pleasant shiver went through my body as the soft, warm water engulfed my skin, a welcoming water sensation.

Suspended in the water on the surface floating over a deep canyon, I looked up to search for the Blue whale. There it was just in front of my eyes only 15 feet away! We faced each other, and I was fixated by the size of its head and jaw. I did not move. Three feet away on my left side, I saw my two guests hypnotized by the moment, mesmerized by the sight of this gentle giant’s huge head and jaw. We all were motionless, just floating. Slowly

I raised my camera and squeezed off a few frames before the light ocean current drifted us along the body length of this surface sleeping Blue whale. A sensational blue whale snorkeling encounter — 15 seconds in the life of a BigAnimals Expeditions adventurer.

The pygmy blue whale, a subspecies of the blue whale, inhabits Sri Lanka’s Indian ocean and the southern Pacific ocean west of Chile. At 60 -75 feet long it can hardly be called a pygmy, but this particular variety of blue whale differs from the “true” blue whale in a few physical characteristics.
They have broader and shorter baleen plates, a proportionately longer body in front of their dorsal fin, and a large head relative to its body size; the tail is a bit shorter as well.

It is difficult to imagine just how huge these whales are until you’re in the water with them. Their hearts can weigh as much as a car, their tongues may exceed the weight of an elephant, and 2,500 gallons of blood circulate constantly to keep this whale alive. They feed almost exclusively on krill and other plankton, and adult blue can consume 8,000 pounds of krill daily in order to power their massive bodies. Exceeding lengths of 100 feet and weights of 180 tons, blue whales are the largest living animals on the planet. Even newborn babies are 25 feet long and drink over 100 gallons of their mother’s milk every day!

It is estimated that due to aggressive whaling in decades past, the current population of blue whales in the world is at about 5% of the historic population, with approximately 15,000 of an original 300,000 whales remaining worldwide.

While the population has rebounded from an estimated 1,000 whales in the mid-1950s and they are now fully protected by many management practices and fishing regulations, it is critical to promote further protection and conservation of these
blue giants.

The opportunity to witness and photograph these amazing whales is only part of this unique trip. Sperm whales, pilot whales, and giant pods of spinner and common dolphins also inhabit these waters, and we will regularly enter the water to enjoy the company of these other majestic cetaceans.

TOUR PRICE INCLUDES

  • All Hotel accommodations according to above itinerary
  • All transfers through the itinerary above
  • Six days of exclusive vessel charter & Rib
  • Filming and free diving permit.
  • All meals and soft drinks on board
  • Only five guests

TOUR PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Gratuity to the vessel crew,
  • Items of private use
  • Unused portion of the activity due to weather or personal choice
  • Overweight luggage. Drinks and taxes.

PAYMENT & DEPOSIT POLICY

When we receive your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive and detailed Trip Preparation Bulletin about the experience and the destination. All trip costs are subject to change without prior notice until your reservation is confirmed.

  • A deposit of 33% of the total trip price is required to secure space on the trip.
  • Full payment is due no later than 90 days before departure.
  • We reserve the right to sell any space that is not paid in full by 60 days before departure.
  • Cancellation Policy
    • Must be made in writing.
    • More than 90 days before trip: Deposit will be refunded in full.
    • 90 days or less before trip: Deposit will be refunded if space is sold, less unrecoverable costs of sales, and administration costs.
    • No refund is made for unused part of the itinerary.
  • The following are subject to change:
    • Cost of services which are not included in the expedition price
    • Flight time and schedule
    • Weather, water temperature, and animal behavior

Insurance: you MUST provide proof of travel and diving insurance

Question — how can we help?

 

Joshua Barton

Expedition Leader

Joshua Barton, 48, is a US businessman based in Bangalore, India. When not running his project management firm, Joshua is putting together diving and terrestrial expeditions to remote and biologically rich regions of the world. From whale sharks off Somaliland to Sun Bears in Sumatra, Joshua has shown an ability to conceptualize and execute unique excursions that cannot be bought with a click on a travel site.

Joshua shoots semi-professionally and, besides being a contributor to publications through Reuters, he also has published in International Wildlife, Saevus, Sanctuary, and many other magazines and books across the world. Since his son was very small, Joshua has been devoting a big piece of the summer to taking his son Nathan on expeditions all over the world; trips that combine adventures on land and sea – and which also involve exposure to scientific and conservation works being carried out by worthy organizations.

From mantas off Mozambique to Humpbacks in Reunion, Joshua has shown his son some of the world’s most fascinating wildlife and the people working to conserve it

BLUE WHALE SNORKELING
PHOTO GALLERY
 

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