When we first went to Chile, in 2006 I think it was, one of the highlights was watching Blue Whale breaching off the coast of Chiloe island. Seeing a mammal the size of a London Bus coming out of the water and slapping back into the sea with a huge splash certainly left an impression. We’ve seen plenty of whales since, including getting up close and personal with Southern Right Whales in Argentina and, closer to home, seeing a pod of 25 Long-finned Pilot Whale off of Cley in November 2014. But today was another chance to catch up with ‘the big guy’ – growing up to almost 30m in length and weighing nearly 200 tonnes. Another early start from our hotel in Mirissa, followed by a short walk to the harbour, check-in, life-belts fastened and we were off. We didn’t know it at the time but no Blue Whale had been seen along this stretch of Sri Lanka coast in the past four days. We headed off into the ocean for around an hour before the call finally came through there’d been a sighting. Back we raced to finally connect just before the creature took a deep dive. Apparently we had to wait nine minutes before we got another chance – the average dive-time of a Blue Whale. Sure enough ten minutes later it reappeared miles from our last sighting. Another chase and more views. This went on for another hour before it was time to head back to the port. A tiring but exhilarating morning.
Now a selection of shots showing the visible bits – including the first, a record shot of the blow: