Home / Travel / Tourism/ Whale watching with F-airways by Janine di Giovanni

Whale watching with F-airways by Janine di Giovanni

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Tuesday, 14 August 2018 00:00


Famed author and foreign correspondent, Janine di Giovanni recently visited Sri Lanka on vacation. As a visit to Sapphire Island would not be complete without witnessing one of the most splendid sights it has to offer Janine and her companions opted to try whale watching by air with F-airways. Given below is her description of the experience:

“Luca was very excited about our next proposed safari. Apparently a major feature of many a bucket list is the sight of our planet’s largest land mammal and largest sea mammal within a few days of each other. Having met elephants in Yala, we were now going to attempt to see blue whales off the coast of Koggola, just north of Cape Welligama. As much as 30 meters in length and weighing in at up to 150 tonnes, these are the true Leviathans of the Deep, as the vastly-knowledgeable former engineer turned whale expert, Howard Martensteyn informed us at the local airport, who also happened to like breeding and feeding off the nutrient rich waters of Sri Lanka. A few tourist boats braved the day-long return trip on the choppy sea, but we were lucky enough to be watching from the air – apparently also the most environmentally sound option, too, keeping the disturbance to whales at a minimum. Taking off in F-airways’ five seater plane early morning, we spotted the tourist boats first, receiving a pounding from the waves as we flew serenely past at about 500 feet. Then Howard pointed out five great dark shadows in the clear blue sea, and a plume of water shot out of a blow hole. Blue whales! An awesome and majestic sight that we could clearly see, but the boats had not yet spotted…so much more than a box ticked on the bucket list, it was sight that will live with us for the rest of our lives, if our excited chatter upon our return an hour later is anything to go by.”

Janine is a current Edward R. Murrow fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a consultant on Syria for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). She is also a regular contributor to The Times, Vanity Fair, Granta, The New York Times, and The Guardian, and has written a number of books and made two long format documentaries for the BBC. She is herself a subject in the documentary films No Man’s Land (1993), Bearing Witness (2005) and 7 Days in Syria (2015). With a wide array of awards to her name and her prestigious resume, Janine’s commendation of F-airways’ endeavour to promote whale watching by air is a glowing testament of the merits of the activity. 

Share This Article


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

Constitutional paradox: There is no such thing called Election Commission

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Our Constitution, which was certified by Parliament on 31 August 1978, has 19 amendments; the First Amendment to the Constitution was certified by the Speaker in the same year on 20 November. By the end of 1988, there had been 14 amendments made to t

‘So Sri Lanka’ – upgrade staff, processes, infrastructure at BIA arrivals to be world’s best!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

24 October, time 12:47 p.m., place – my residence in Colombo My phone buzzes with a WhatsApp message from my old colleague Prasad Fernanado now with Saudi British Bank in Saudi. I am thrilled to see the message ‘Sri Lanka top country for travel i

Qatar crisis: From the Sri Lankans’ point of view

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The aim of this article is to examine the Saudi blockade over Qatar and its impact in the past 17 months on the country. A special focus will be given to the Sri Lankan workers who have been living in Qatar for the past two decades. The reason why th

The reality of Sri Lanka – household end!

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Whilst Sri Lanka is debating what is right and wrong on the governance of the country, the Sri Lankan household is falling part due to escalating costs, as per the latest data released by respected research agency Nielsen. For the seventh quarter in

Columnists More