The whale tailMy official farewell tour of Sri Lanka has begun. With a month left in the country, the time has come for long, drawn out, painfully uncomfortable Sri Lankan goodbyes with almost every person on the island; mixed in with quick visits and extended highway journeys to every corner of the country.

This was always the way it had to end.

Trina and I started the tour where we first began almost two years ago – at the beach.

When you’ve lived for most of your life in landlocked and cold as f$%$ Saskatchewan, the beach will always be a special, magical place. Warm water, white sand and cheap beer is very enticing. We’ve spent many a weekend at Sri Lankan beaches since living here, however it still feels like we didn’t get there enough.

This past long weekend we were able to get to Weligama – a small beach halfway between Galle and Matara. While most of our time was spent laying on the beach, we did find time to go see some whales and dolphins. Here’s a quick rundown of how the whale watching went:

6:30 a.m. – We arrive at the harbour in a tuk tuk. I tell the guy at the gates we’re here to get on Jagath’s boat and he points us to the end of the harbour.

6:35 – As we’re driving to Jagath’s boat, I realize that Jagath is the owner of our hotel and not the whale watching dude. We want to go to Geeth’s boat, not Jagath’s. I got confused between my Jagath’s and my Geeth’s. It happens here.

6:36 – After getting to Jagath’s boat, I admit my error and we are pointed back to where we came from. Silly foreigners.

6:40 – We arrive at Geeth’s boat and are met with a smile from his brother, a form to fill out and a friendly, “You pay now.”

6:50 – We get on the boat with a dozen or so other tourists and are handed a bright orange life jacket. Everyone on board faithfully puts them on and sits there looking like giant, stuffed pumpkins.

6:55 – We leave the dock and start to head out…until we realize we’re missing Geeth! We head back to the dock.

7:05 – Geeth triumphantly arrives at the dock with small breakfast containers for all of us. He also has a young, foreign female on his arm, who he seems absolutely smitten with. I wonder out loud to Trina if it’s her way of seeing the whales for free? I momentarily wish I was a woman and then snap back into my manly reality.

7:10 – We head out of the harbour for real this time. Over half of the life jackets have already been removed – including the two year old kid sitting in front of us.

7:20 – The first tourist barfs.

7:25 – The kid has had enough of this boat ride and makes a break for the edge. Her dad grabs her just in time.

7:30 – Geeth stands at the back of his boat with his lady friend and whispers sweet nothings into her ear. I am jealous of Geeth’s life.

7:45 – A lady tourist at the back of the boat falls asleep on the bench and doesn’t wake up until we get back to the harbour 3 hours later. I guess the whales weren’t important to her.

8 a.m. – No whales in sight and a few more tourists barf.

8:15  – We’re deep into the sea and no one is wearing their life jacket. People are moving about the boat and getting restless. I think Geeth may be below deck doing God knows what with the cheap foreign floozy. I briefly think about jumping overboard like the kid tried to do, but think better of it.

8:26 – Dolphins are spotted and the crowd erupts. Cameras are brought out and people stumble around the boat trying to get a steady shot. Some more people barf, but they don’t mind.

9 – The first whale is spotted, and then another and another. We drive around like maniacs the next 40 minutes hunting down blue whales before they descend to feed. Geeth finally appears to tell us this is the best whale watching day ever. Everyone is happy and we head back the two hours to the harbour…and just for the record, I never barfed.

The end.

Here are some photos and a video.