Whale and Dolphin Watching Calendar Highlights

Marine mammals are found in Sri Lankan waters throughout the year off all maritime provinces, but sightings cannot always be assured. For this reason, commercial whale and dolphin watching is a seasonal activity whose timing at different locations round the island is influenced by weather patterns, sea conditions and, to a lesser extent, marine mammal movements and migrations.


The first and second intermonsoonal seasons represent the peak of cetacean movements round Sri Lanka. The best period being mid March to mid April during the first intermonsoonal season. Be aware that year to year variations in sightings can shift as much as one calendar month.

January

Northeast Monsoon.

Dondra is best for blue whales while Kalpitiya is best for Bryde’s and Eden’s whales and the largest aggregations of spinner dolphins. Trinco is off-season due to prevailing monsoon winds.

February

Northeast Monsoon.

Dondra is best for blue whales while Kalpitiya is best for Bryde’s and Eden’s whales and the largest aggregations of spinner dolphins. Trinco is off-season due to prevailing monsoon winds.

March

First Intermonsoon.

Trinco and then Dondra is best for blue whales and their calves. Trinco and then Kalpitiya are best for sperm whales. Kalpitiya has largest aggregations of spinner dolphins. Trinco is best for beaked whales.

April

First Intermonsoon.

Dondra is best for blue whales while Kalpitiya is best for sperm whales. Blue whale calves peak month. Sperm whales and then blue whales leave the Trinco area heading south. Kalpitiya is best for diversity of marine mammal sightings.

November

Second Intermonsoon.

Trinco and Dondra are best for blue whales. Kalpitiya is best for sighting sperm whales with calves and the largest aggregations of spinner dolphins. 

May

Southwest monsoon.

If the southwest monsoon winds have not started then it is the same as April. Otherwise only option is Trinco where blue whales are still moving out.

June

Southwest monsoon.

Only Trinco is open for whale and dolphin watching. Dondra and Kalpitiya are off-season due to prevailing monsoon winds. Low season for whale sightings in Trinco. Trinco outer harbour is best for spinner dolphin aggregations, Bryde’s whales and Eden’s whales.



July

Southwest monsoon.

Only Trinco is open for whale and dolphin watching. Dondra and Kalpitiya are off-season due to prevailing monsoon winds. Low season for whale sightings in Trinco. Daily dolphin sightings at outer harbour.

August

Southwest monsoon.

Trinco is best for land based whale sightings and Trinco outer harbour is the best location for both whale and dolphin sightings. Blue whales and sperm whales are occassionally sighted.

September

Southwest monsoon.

Trinco and Dondra are best for blue whales. Bryde’s whales start to return to Trinco. Blues are most;y found southeast off Dondra canyon. Daily spinner dolphin sightings.

October

Second Intermonsoon.

Trinco and Dondra are best for blue whales and Trinco for returning sperm whales. Daily spinner dolphin sightings.



December

Northeast Monsoon.

Dondra is best for blue whales. Kalpitiya is best for sighting sperm whales with calves and the largest aggregations of spinner dolphins. Trinco is off-season due to prevailing monsoon winds.