Dolphins at Kalpitiya | Zero 3 Images

Dolphins at Kalpitiya

For about a year I have heard stories about Kalpitiya and the dolphins. Crystal clear waters, and thousands of dolphins where the tales I have heard. Been a skeptic by nature, I assumed it’s good but it could not be that good. Unfortunately at the time I heard about it my finances didn’t permit much travelling as I had just completed my house and the housing loans were beginning to bite. So talked about it and procrastinated and never ended up going. No one from zero 3images seemed keen and the others are worried about boats capsizing and sea sickness. Also one should never forget that most of us saw “jaws” as kids. So a whole year went by before I could muster the finances and the crowd to go to Kalpitiya and check out if these claims were true.

A plan was hatched, we would take a Friday half day, eat huge amounts of sea food, see dolphins, do some bird watching and be back on Sunday. A late Friday arrival in Kalpitiya meant we had two boat rides to see the dolphins. This would maximize our chances, after all dolphins like all of God’s creatures have better things to do then parade themselves in front of silly humans from Colombo. I have learnt the hard way that nothing ever goes according to plan.

I borrowed Gehan’s double cab, as my current means of transportation would not take me on to the beach. We were due to leave Colombo at 2.30pm but one of the fellow travels was stuck in a meeting. Business before pleasure they say. So two vehicles left Colombo around 3.30pm, leaving the third, to catch up with us once the meeting was over. We were in Chilaw having tea, when the 3rd vehicle left Colombo.

With high expectation and even higher spirits, we set out to sea around 6.30am. The sea was calm and clear, in short it was like a swimming pool. There was no chance of getting sea sick or capsizing the boat, even jaws could be seen for miles before it came near us. We traveled for about 20 minutes or roughly 2 km out to sea. There were plenty of fishing boats out at sea. After about 15 minutes of searching we found the dolphins, and what a show it was. We may not have seen thousands, but an estimated 700 hundred plus was just as good for me. There completely unconcerned with the boats, and swam along side us and under the boat. They jumped out of the water, for what appeared as the pure joy of life. It was a near spiritual experience for me. To make it better, we had crab, prawns and cuttle fish for both lunch and dinner. Now that in my books was a day well spend.

The next day would have great if it wasn’t for the previous day. We had got spoiled, we expected 700 dolphins frolicking round our boats. This pod was much more subdued, they kept their distance from the boats and even when they did come close, it was only briefly. And there were only a mere 200 to 300 dolphins. Like I said under normal circumstances, this would have been great, but because the first day was brilliant, it paled in comparison. Once again the sea was calm and clear, we could even see the coral below. We finished it off with a great sea bath and another brilliant lunch. On the way back to Colombo we dropped off at Navadumkulama and did a spot of bird watching. Two brilliant days, I only wish my photography had been better. I was not in a position to complain, I had enjoyed my self, and that’s what it’s all about.

I have heard people talking about dolphin watching abroad, and they saw 20 dolphins, for that number you would not even have my attention any more. Sri Lanka and Kalpitiya is the place. I have still not heard of any other place where you can see so many of them. I was wondering why I hadn’t gone sooner, and you will definitely find me going back, sooner rather then later.

11 Responses to “ Dolphins at Kalpitiya ”

  1. Ranmali Hapugalle says:

    The photograph of the single dolphin is absolutely stunning.Love the monochromatic coloring in the photo. Thanks very much for sharing and letting folks like me view it.

  2. Viran says:

    Awesome bro!! Just absolutly awesome…!!

  3. namal says:

    Thanks folks. Season starts soon. Hopefully I will get better pictures

  4. Dhammika Heenpella says:

    Hi Namal, I love to visit this place with my kids. When do you think is the best time to go there?



  5. namal says:

    Hi Dammika,
    Thanks for the comments. The season starts in November, but the sea can be rough. The sea is at it’s calmest in January and February.

  6. Ramli Mohamed says:

    lovely shots bro, and love you guys writing style as well, thanks for sharing. What lenses did you use by the way?

  7. Manouri Pothuhera says:

    Namal, Stunning ! Heard about this place , definitely a must see when we visit next Dec.

  8. namal says:


    Ramli, I used a 70-210 lens for this. U need to be able to hand hold it for long spells at a time. As well be able to zoom in and out in a hurry. In the longer lens the angle of view is too narrow to locate the dolphins through the camera, besides they move very fast.

  9. Ashani says:

    I love the last pic, it is breathtaking.

  10. Amila says:

    Awesome place, which i never heard before… must go!!! thanks Namal for your pictures and the story… inspired me to explore unknown places… cheers!!!

  11. shreya says:

    hi.. these are some amaaaazing pictures and im sure the experiance was breathtaking.
    I just wanted to know if the dolphin sighting is advisable even in september end or october first week??? Il be in Srilanka at that time and would love to visit this place.

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