Kalpitiya is known as another destination for offshore dolphin and whale watching on the island, as the coastal waters bordering the peninsula is often the haunt of marvelous dolphin pods (sometimes even superpods) and whales. It is an ideal location for dolphin and whale sightings as one need not venture far out into the ocean since the continental shelf of Kalpitiya lies within close range of the shoreline. Therefore, numerous species of marine life could be spotted a short boat ride away from the shore.
The town gained repute as a dolphin and whale watching destination in 2005, following the sightings of large pods of Spinner dolphins off its coast in a belt known as ‘Dolphin Line’ that runs parallel to the peninsula.
Boat excursions for dolphin and whale watching are conducted by trained and certified guides and generally begin at Alankuda beach. The guides are fluent in English and able to impart invaluable knowledge to visitors regarding the behavior of these elusive creatures and the threats faced by them due to poachers, over fishing, chemical and noise pollution, habitat destruction and other negligent human disturbances. When visiting, it is advisable to be mindful so as to not disturb and cause stress to these enchanting creatures.
The season for Dolphin watching is from November to March/April; this is the monsoon season and the sea is likely to be less rough, thereby making it easier to sight dolphins. The calmness also contributes to a higher visibility amid the waters that allows one to glimpse dolphins from afar. This winter season is also ideal seeing as dolphins migrate here from cold waters. One may witness superpods with up to 1000 dolphins during this period.
Dolphin watching tours generally take place during dawn and last for 2-3 hours. Pods containing hundreds of dolphins can usually be sighted at the famous Bar Reef situated one-hour boat ride away. Most common species roaming the Kalpitiya waters are the long snouted Spinner dolphin seeing as offshore tropical waters usually serves as their habitat. Bottlenose, Risso and Indo-Pacific Humpbacks dolphins can also be spotted in Kalpitiya. These charming and playful acrobats are indisputably a delight to behold.
Whale watching –
The season for whale watching is between December and April, with months March and April being the most ideal. The deep waters surrounding Kalpitiya are roamed by five types of whales.
Majestic Sperm whales, also known as cachalot, can be found nearby during this period. You may witness pods of whales of up to 7, 15, 20 or even 50 whales. Currently on the endangered list, these remarkable mammals are the largest toothed predators on Earth and the largest of the toothed whales. Sperm whales also have the largest brain in existence, weighing four times more than that of a human. Although considered a cosmopolitan species, wandering both tropical and cold waters, many years of whaling has rendered them locally extinct in regions such as Southern Australia. The presence of Sperm whales is sometimes accompanied with sightings of pelagic seabirds.
Sporadic but spectacular sightings of the magnificent Blue Whale, largest species known to have ever existed on Earth, can also be experienced in Kalpitiya waters. Other species of whale such as Minke, Melon-headed and Dwarf Sperm can also be spotted here.
Tour consultants at EPIC Sri Lanka Holidays can assist you to organize boat excursions to experience whale and dolphin watching.