Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Kalpitiya, Dolphins, Seafood!

We ventured up to Kalpitiya a few weekends ago since a few of us hadn't gone dolphin or whale watching at all. The drive itself is not too bad, being just 3 hours or so away from Colombo... but travelling with a 5mo old is an entirely different operation! She is generally a non-fussy baby but 3 hours cramped in her little baby carrier made her cranky and she insisted to be carried half the way. I know, I's insanely dangerous - but please judge a mother when you're ACTUALLY a mother. We just do what we have to man.

Anyway, we stayed at Diyamba Beach Resort which is a cute little place, belonging to a lovely little Aunty called Ramani (not related, every adult is an Aunty or Uncle obviously). My review on Tripadvisor here, so I won't harp on the place here.

Diyamba Beach Resort
The sea - Well, if you're into swimming in really calm, warm waters... Kalpitiya is your thing. It's basically a lagoon with a natural reef so there's literally no waves. It's also very shallow and therefore warm - I assume kids would love it. Do I sound negative? Possibly because my kind of beach would be Unawatuna, where it's calm enough to swim but moves enough to give that bit of excitement :D (Why do I sound like a sex toy ad?)

Resident podi-guard and cutie "Singham" (a.k.a Lion in Tamil)
Dolphin watching starts early. Aunty Ramani arranged a boat to come pick us at 7am itself. There was about 10 boats in the sea that morning so not too much traffic. I wondered whether the noise and smell of diesel disrupt the marine life but never got an answer to that. Apparently the spinner dolphins feed early morning and just play around during the time the boats come in the see them. Also, if you see say, 15 dolphins on the surface - there are three layers underneath - making it a pod of 45...pretty cool eh?

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
We also dipped our GoPro Hero 4 into the water and got this amazing footage!

So Animal Planet-y
And finally, c'est moi! and my first time snorkelling!

You don't get a lot of colourful corals but there are lots of cool looking fish - especially lots of Dory types, lol (Finding Nemo ref).

Cost wise, other than the room cost, the boat should be about SLR 15,000 (dolphin watching and snorkelling both) and SLR 12,000 for dolphins only. Aunty Ramani said migratory whales should come by soon and that's amazing to see too. If you're REALLY REALLY lucky, you MIGHT see orcas too (killer whales)...but they are quite rare. Spinners hang around the lagoon and move on in the Indian Ocean since its warm and full of stuff they like to eat. The only scary part is the dynamite fishing going on in the lagoon...they even snag the occasional dolphin and quickly dispose of it, it seems. They've already killed half the corals and even the Navy used to not give a damn about corals back in the day (shared by our boatman).. I guess ignorance about nature and conservation is a large hindrance in Sri Lanka as always. Hopefully it'll change over time since the Director-General of Wildlife has changed to someone who's actually educated in the matter - Happy Days!



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