It was a typically hot surface interval in mid April. The water had been a beautiful blue on the Degalmeda reef and we were getting rid of our excess nitrogen in preparation for heading back down in a bit. Nilanga and I were at the bow while Daniel and Nishan were at the stern having our respective conversations.
Our fearless boatman, Nilanga
It was during a lull in our conversation that I heard what sounded like a set of hydraulic brakes going off in the distance, Nilanga heard it too and we paused and looked northward from where the sound had come. There was nothing but the sunlight glinting off the waves as Colombo wavered in the heat haze. Shrugging our shoulders we returned to our conversation when the sound came again, this time loud enough to draw Nishan and Daniel’s attention as well.
We stared northwards again shading our eyes against the harsh sun. The sound was repeated a third time and this time we saw the spout and gleaming black as the sperm whale spouted about 200 meters north of the boat. This was quite a surprise as you can imagine and unfortunately we spent far too much following the whale’s path in disbelief before we got our masks and fins on.
We quietly slid into the water as the whale came parallel to our boat, the black back and tiny fin gleaming in the sun as the water slid up over my mask. Unfortunately we paid a price for our tardiness in getting our gear on as the current was flowing northwards while the whale was already a bit south of our boat. The three of us, cameras at the ready watched helplessly as the whale powered past us effortlessly, turned westward and headed out to sea. An awe inspiring if somewhat embarrassing moments