The Jetwing Whale and Dolphin Centre at Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel to open in January
The whale has been described as the ‘king of the sea’, ‘majestic in its beauty’, and made famous in stories such as Jonah and the Whale from the Bible as well as Moby Dick by Herman Melville. The latter oft recognized as a classic of English literature, with Melville himself stating ‘to produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme’. There are few such sights left in this world as majestic as the sight of a pod of whales breaching, the sudden explosion of blows, or even the playful antics of spinner dolphins.
Mirissa in Southern Sri Lanka has now established itself as the world’s top spot for watching the Blue Whale, the largest creature to have inhabited our planet. During the season, Blue Whales can be seen virtually everyday at a strike rate of over 95% just a few nautical miles from the shore, which is unprecedented when compared to sightings of these animals in other parts of the world. Sperm Whales too may be seen occasionally in pods numbering as much as 50 individuals, and on a ‘good day’ you may have views of both Sperm Whales and Blue Whales in the same field of view! Acrobatic Spinner Dolphins may also be seen, sometimes in superpods which can number over a thousand.
Whale watching in Mirissa has emerged as one of the biggest and most positive stories for Sri Lanka’s growing tourism industry in recent years, thanks to the efforts of Jetwing. Jetwing Lighthouse, an icon of Galle has been the home of whale watching for over four years, and played a pivotal role in researching, promoting and branding the product to the world since its inception in May 2008. A platinum sponsor of the Galle Literary Festival since its inception, the Celebrity Whale Watch has been an extraordinarily popular event with passes selling out almost instantly.
This year’s Festival had the privilege of having aboard Philip Hoare, renowned author of The Leviathan, and was indeed an experience to remember. Look forward to another Celebrity Whale Watch at the 2012 Festival, along with a talk on Whale Watching as well! All whale watching excursions from Jetwing Lighthouse are conducted by the resident naturalist Anoma Alagiyawadu, who is singularly distinguished by his reputation as Sri Lanka’s foremost whale watcher, who is now nearing his 500th excursion to sea, an event not to be missed.
With such experience and knowledge, Anoma and Senaka Weerasuriya, a PADI certified diving instructor who was certified in Australia and has vast diving experience at places such as the Great Barrier Reef and a lover of marine wildlife as well as a recent addition to Jetwing Lighthouse, have teamed up to create the Jetwing Whale and Dolphin Center.
The Center is the first of its kind in the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka, and aims to educate and create awareness of these magnificent creatures. At present, 28 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) have been recorded in Sri Lankan waters and sightings from Mirissa alone include Brydes Whale, Humpack Whale, Short-finned Pilot Whale, Orca, Striped Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin, Pantropical Spotted Dolphin and Bottlenose Dolphin, however very little is still understood about their behaviour or why they are seen in these waters. According to Anoma, this is “the first purpose built information and research center in Sri Lanka, and is not centered only for people but to act as a conservation project to increase our knowledge and raise awareness about these gentle giants of the sea. From October to April, over 3000 people travel to the South solely for watching Blue Whales. As a result, it is the perfect chance for the public to learn more, and do more to preserve this event.”
Senaka adds: “At present, we will conduct continuous educational programmes in schools, harbor/beach cleanups, as well as enlist the support of the local community. Eventually, we hope to create a network all over Sri Lanka which is contributed to by the public, especially coming in handy when attempting to rescue beached whales”.
Family owned and in the tourism industry for the past 38 years, Jetwing Hotels has surpassed expectation at every aspect. Building on their foundation of being passionate, as well as the experience of true, traditional Sri Lankan hospitality, constantly pioneering discoveries captures the essence of the brand.
Such a strong statement and direction have enabled Jetwing Hotels to imagine, create and manage marvels and masterpieces, where distinctive design and elegant comfort complement each other and the environment. Such is the case of Jetwing Lighthouse, standing magnificent in Galle as a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and celebrating a momentous occasion next year: 15 years of providing the finest in Sri Lankan hospitality to visitors from all over the Earth!
The Jetwing Whale and Dolphin Center will officially be opened in January, during the Galle Literary Festival. Membership is free, and members are entitled to a regular newsletter as well as a whale guidebook.
For further information concerning Jetwing Lighthouse or for your Whale watching experience, please do not hesitate to contact Nick on 0207 720 8484 or email firstname.lastname@example.org