Friday, March 26, 2010
Dolphins and the Barr Reef off the coast of the Kalpitiya and Uchchimunai
January to April appear to be the months when the seas off the coast of the Kalpitiya peninsula are calm and the dolphins are at play a few hundred meters from the coast on the sea side. We were in place by around 7.30am due west from Alankudah about 500m into the sea when we spotted schools of dolphins swimming alongside the craft with us. My photographic attempts with a digital camera came to no avail, as the shutter somehow appears to delay from the time I pressed.
I have experience in seeing Dolphins and Blue Whales of the coast of Santa Barbara, in California, and there are strict guidelines about the number and size of vessels permitted for whale watching. This has led to minimal intrusion on the mammal and little chasing by a flotilla of craft as is found here. While I was on a larger craft, being able to look a long distance to spot them the smaller fishing boats that double up as Dolphin boats, while closer to the objects are nevertheless bereft of a clear sighting and therefore congregate once a boat has sightings and so speed to where they are, sometimes to the annoyance of the Dolphins who dive down only to emerge a distance away, to be chased yet again.
Whatever one says it is truly breathtaking to see 10 or more Dolphins swim together in perfect formation at close quarters and so close to the shore line. I understand that off the Southern Coast there is a long journey into the sea before they can be sighted. I am surprised that while they have been around for so long in this area that this activity is only now being exploited. Perhaps due to the security situation sea going craft were restricted and so this activity not permitted.
A more spectacular place just north of where these Dolphins were is the Barr Reef a section almost at the tip of the peninsula, I think called Uchchimunai, where there is a reef about 3 foot in depth, so the craft have to tread lightly, where there is live and dead coral and a sighting of different fish almost visible to the boat, but perfectly visible to snorkelers skimming the surface and not having to dive at all. If one can just float with snorkels one can just watch the proceedings down in the coral basin. While I was only in the shallow section, I presume there is a deeper section with a more varied selection of coral and fish.
The numerous islands are wonderful, some with beaches and others without, where there are fishing waadiyas and one I was shown as being the location of the Six Senses Resort, which to me looked a very dull island with no beaches. I personally don’t think that island should be developed as I cannot see much potential.