I’m mean I do love Sri Lanka, this is where I was born and bred.
I’ve found my heart’s calling and I don’t think I want to let go of it anytime soon.
The water’s my element, the ocean’s certainly a large part of me.
The first day I saw these whales out in our waters in you know, 2003, when I had six blue whales within four square kilometers of where I was I… that was it for me, it was a sign and that I had to do something about it.
What I’m trying to do is figure out why the whales are here. What exactly are they feeding on, what kind of depths are their food in, those are like big questions that are still looming.
Twelve miles off the southern tip of Sri Lanka marine biologist Asha Devost studies a little known population of blue whales, the largest animal to have ever lived.
This population is really unique.
One of the main things is that they don’t actually migrate to cooler waters like other blue whales.
They hang around in you know, warm waters all year round, which you don’t expect because colder waters are much more nutrient rich than tropical waters and the sheer fact that these animals are able to stay in these waters all year long is very, very intriguing.
Asha’s effort, which she calls the Sri Lankan Blue Whale Project is the only long term study of blue whales in these waters. (Wow look at that, that was a shark man!)
I’m out here in Sri Lanka’s beautiful islands but this is a new, totally new area in my country, it’s something that no ones really done before. And I’m kind of, I’m very much on my own around here.
We don’t have a lot of infrastructure, we don’t have the support, the equipment, in this part of the world what I do is very unorthodox.
Just the fact that I get out there on boats and work in the middle of the ocean with these large animals, it puzzles so many people. I mean I go into the fishery every day I’ll have someone say so your parents don’t mind that? Or you know, shouldn’t you be married and have kids? Because you know, that’s what people are used to.
It’ll give me a reading off the Celsius temperature over here and the reason I’m interested is because we saw, you know, in the morning we saw whales over here. And I should collect some scientific pressure data so we can look at kind of what conditions we see these pre-patches in.
Blue whales are baleen feeders who dine on krill in the water the water column. Asha is out here today trying to figure out where the krill are and how the whales move through the area.
She believes the whales behavior is powerfully influenced by the regions geography.
In some ways they’re trapped because unlike other ocean bases that are connected from north to south, the Indian Ocean isn’t. The Indian Ocean is blocked in the north by the Indian subcontinent. The physical environment has a lot, has a huge role to play with these whales and the fact that they are here all year round.