There’s something at 12 o’clock, shouted Ashan…and the few of us lunged for our cameras and looked straight ahead, balancing ourselves on whatever we could to, for dear life.
Straining our eyes, willing it not to even blink, just so we could spot the most gigantic and magnificent creature; the Blue Whale!
Howard, who was perched at the edge of the top deck with camera and the eye of a professional, confirmed the sighting, adding that it would take approximately 10 -12 minutes for it to resurface.
The minutes ticked by as the young crew member of the ‘Dutch Princess’ expertly glided the boat towards the goal. It was a moment of great excitement for me and the kids, as it would be our very first sighting, and I desperately wanted it to happen.
We waited with baited breath, and suddenly, the boy next to me shouted, pointing metres away from the boat…lo and behold, right next to the boat it came up for air, then a bit of the body disappeared and then the humongous tale!
We clicked away as if our lives depended on these pictures! I marveled at the thought of actually seeing this awesome mammal in Sri Lankan waters; up close and personal. The kids were ecstatic and so were the adults. We saw the fluke; which is an oily trail left by the whale’s trails. We kept following it and seeing it re-emerging a couple of times, before we left it to its own devices, deciding to head back.
On our way to catch the elusive blue whale, we came across a pod of dolphins and it felt like a movie; like a scene from ‘Zeus and Roxanne’, or ‘Flicker.’ Stunningly beautiful creatures of the sea, flipping like seasoned acrobats for our pleasure! As we drew close, they exhibited their skills and greeted us with their shrill voices. Howard asked the children to look at the bow when we started sailing, as the dolphins loved to ride the bow. This was surreal; seemed like another place and time, so Hollywood style!
All I could do was click away and thank God for his marvelous creations.
Howard Martenstyn, who was part of our motley crew of adventurers, is an expert in all things concerning wild life and he gave us a brief about the various types of whales and dolphins found in Sri Lankan waters.
Next on the agenda, planned by Ashan Seneviratne, Proprietor of ‘Little Adventures’, was the snorkeling session at ‘Bar Reef.
Sporting our snorkeling gear and life jackets, we dived into the sea, exploring its spectacular depths to our hearts content. The sea held treasures to boot; from the varied schools of tropical fish with their vivid hues to beds of colourful coral. It was the children’s first snorkeling experience in the deep blue, and they were in their element. We had to be called in several times, as we did not seem to feel the fact that time had whizzed by; one just could not get enough of this tropical haven.
Yet, we had to satisfy the rumble in our tummies and head back home. So, all of us washed the last vestiges of salt away, as the boat was equipped with fresh water for bathing. We dressed up and munched on a wonderful meal, specially made by Vasita. Thereafter, everyone seemed to reflect on the wonders of nature, as we headed back to land, feeling truly blessed!
Source newspaper article