What Not To Do in Sri Lanka

Tip: Do not read if you have a weak stomach; jump straight to the conclusion at the end.

I love everything to do with animals and wildlife. This means that I will jump at any opportunity to see animals in their natural habitats. Several such opportunities arose on my trip to Sri Lanka and I was as eager as ever to grab them.

Unfortunately, one of these opportunities turned out to be the worst part of my trip.

On Wednesday my friend and I had booked a whale watching trip at Mirissa Beach, a place well known for such trips. Most of the excursions we had done during this holiday had been either just us and our guide or occasionally a couple of other people. So we were not expecting to see a large boat filled to capacity with at least one hundred people for this trip, as well as several other boats the same size along the crowded harbour. I don’t mind doing the odd group excursion, if that’s what’s usually done. However, my alarm bells started ringing not long after this: as soon as we sat down on the boat we were offered a cup of ginger tea, ginger biscuits and seasickness tablets.

Now, I have suffered from travel sickness (or motion sickness) ever since I was tiny. Apparently, I couldn’t last a half hour bus trip when I was very small. As I’ve got older this has improved greatly – and I’ve never let it stop me from travelling. The last time I was physically ill, rather than just feeling nauseous, was quite a few years ago on a ferry from Wales to Ireland across the Irish channel. Worse. Ferry. Crossing. Ever. If you have the choice, fly!

This trip came a close second. Despite the seasickness tablets and ginger.

Yes, we saw whales; three of them, including spouts from their blowholes and flips of their tails as they dived down again.

However, by that point I had thrown up three times and was feeling rather the worse for wear, so I wasn’t as enamoured by the whales as other people seemed to be (by the cheers and applauding). I wasn’t the only one either. By my reckoning, at least half the sightseers on board were seasick during the journey. Even for those people who weren’t ill, it can’t have been pleasant being surrounded by people throwing up for over five hours.

Conclusion

If you suffer from motion sickness even the tiniest bit, don’t go whale watching at Mirissa Beach. If you’re anything like me, you won’t enjoy it and will spend the whole time (apart from the first half an hour) feeling sorry for yourself and just wanting to be back on dry land. If you’ve never suffered, however, by all means go and see the whales! Just be forewarned – there’s a first time for everything.