Trincomalee, like Malé or Seattle, is a city that lives on the edge of the deep ocean. While the waters around Sri Lanka are generally quite shallow (in places, one can wade out to sea a kilometre or more), a gigantic undersea canyon begins a few metres offshore inside ‘Trinco’ harbour and turns north along the shoreline, dividing into three as it plunges into the abyss, reaching depths in excess of 3km at its mouths.This vast drowned valley is home to a wide variety of marine life, including the zooplankton and squid on which whales live. This makes Trincomalee one of the best – if not the best – place for whale-watching in Sri Lanka. Blue whales, the largest animals on Earth, are often seen, along with sperm whales, humpback whales, pilot whales (the ‘cheetahs of the sea’) and friendly, acrobatic dolphins.In season, whale watchers report a success rate of over 90%.
Formerly, it was thought that the whales so often seen off Trinco and Nilaveli were there only during the first four months of the year. Recent sightings have indicated that not only dolphins but even some blue whales are present all year round, though rough weather conditions make whale-watching impracticable between June and September except in calm inshore waters where the mass of Sri Lanka itself deflects the monsoon winds. However, this is a great time of year to sample Trinco’s other attractions, from picturesque Marble Bay to the hot springs at Kinniya.
Visiting: Whale-watching excursions out of Trinco are conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy and a few private operators. The information desk at your Uga Escapes hotel will have more information.