Bottlenose dolphin with Risso's dolphin

Books on Sri Lanka's Maritime

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Out of the Blue

Book | Nov 2018 | Second Edition

Paperback ISBN 978-955-54534-4-8, Hardcover ISBN 978-955-54534-6-2

296 pages, 21.0 cm by 29.7 cm.


​Howard Martenstyn (Author & Publisher)


A revised and updated edition. Out of the Blue is the most comprehensive treatment of marine mammals and their environment in the northern region of the Indian Ocean. It features over 400 high quality colour photographs as well as nearly 200 illustrations and maps. Highly informative and well laid out with stunning new photographs and meticulously collected up to date information.

The book is available at retail bookshops (Barefoot, Odel, Vijitha Yapa) in Colombo as well at Fairway Air in Koggala.

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Sri Lanka Marine Mammal Research and Conservation 1560 to 2019

Book | Feb 2019 | First Edition | Paperback | Cover in colour, inside pages in black & white

Volume I,  Paperback ISBN 978- 955-54534-8-6, 266 pages, 21.0 cm by 29.7 cm, 700 gms

Volume II, Paperback ISBN 978- 624-95069-0-9, 284 pages, 21.0 cm by 29.7 cm, 750 gms


​Howard Martenstyn (Author & Publisher)


The most detailed technical information of Sri Lanka's marine mammals and their environment in the Northern Indian Ocean. Over 10,000 marine mammal sighting records including the author's records have been collated, analysed and discussed. Illustrated by maps, graphs, drawings and photographs. This compendium of information on Sri Lanka's marine mammals provides a baseline for future studies, taxonomy and field work.

Sri Lanka's Sea Mammals

Book | Jul 2019 | First Edition | Paperback | Colour

ISBN 978- 624-95069-2-3, 144 pages, 145 mm by 207 mm, 285 gms

​Howard Martenstyn (Author & Publisher)

Thalatha Ranasinghe (Translator)


This is the first published book in Sinhala on marine mammals and their environment in the seas around Sri Lanka. The book is an abbreviated version of the best seller Out of the Blue by Howard Martenstyn. It features many high quality colour photographs as well as several illustrations and maps. Highly informative and well laid out with stunning photographs and meticulously collected up to date information.

Available at Vijitha Yapa retail bookshops.

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Ghosts of the Deep

Book | Mar 2016 | ISBN 978-955-6652-91-8

336 pages, hardback, 21.0 cm by 29.7 cm. 3 Kg.


Dharshana Jayawardena (Author), Vijitha Yapa (Publisher)


For several thousand years, the island nation of Sri Lanka has been a hub for maritime commerce, resulting in many ships falling victim to maritime disasters and skirmishes at sea. Ghosts of the Deep is an extensive photo journal that recounts the stories of how over 40 of these vessels transformed into shipwrecks, and the narrative account of the author’s exhilarating experiences of exploring them in their current state as artificial reefs, which are now home to a multitude of marine life. The author, Dharshana Jayawardena, is a leading shipwreck explorer and underwater photographer in Sri Lanka. Dharshana has been SCUBA diving since 2003, logging over 1,200 dives in the oceans of the world. 

The Sharks of Sri Lanka

Book | Sep 2015 | ISBN 978-955-8576-35-9

216 pages, hardback, 23.9 cm (9.4") by 31.2 cm (12.3").


Rex I. De Silva (Author), Jayantha Jinasena (Illustrator)


Sri Lanka boasts of 61 species of sharks in its seas. The Sharks of Sri Lanka is the first  publication to deal comprehensively with this group of fascinating and amazing creatures. This book is written by Rex I. De Silva, a diver and biologist whose expertise results from his close association with the Ocean and its inhabitants, including sharks, over a period of six decades. The book is written for the biologist, naturalist and interested layperson and is replete with precise, concise, authentic and up-to-date information on the Island’s shark fauna and it is illustrated with great detail. A prior knowledge of sharks is neither assumed nor required.

The Mammals of Sri Lanka

Book | Dec 2013 | ISBN 978-955-8576-32-8

1012 pages, hardback, 21.9 cm (8.6") by 28.7 cm (11.3"), colour & b/w photos, colour & b/w illustrations, colour maps, 5 Kg


Asoka Yapa (Author), Gamini Ratnavira (Illustrator), Rohan Pethiyagoda (Foreword By)


The Mammals of Sri Lanka is the first comprehensive treatment of the subject in eighty years. Although the book is intended for the wildlife enthusiast and observer, it will be of value to students and professional zoologists. The Mammals of Sri Lanka summarizes information currently available on both terrestrial and marine mammals that occur in and around Sri Lanka. Richly illustrated, it carries a coloured portrait of almost every species.

Out of the Blue: A guide to the Marine Mammals of Sri Lanka, Southern India and the Maldives

Book | Nov 2013 | ISBN 978-955-54534-0-0

272 pages, paperback, 26 cm by 28 cm, 1.5 Kg.


​Howard Martenstyn (Author & Publisher), Dr. Hiran Jayewardene (Foreword by), Richard Simon (Editor)


Out of the Blue is the most comprehensive treatment of marine mammals and their environment in the northern region of the Indian Ocean. It features well over 300 high quality colour photographs as well as close to 200 illustrations and maps. Highly informative and well laid out.

Coral Reefs of Sri Lanka

Book | 2011 | ISBN 978-955-0093-04-5

200 pages, hardback, 29.7 cm (11.7") by 22.5 cm (8.9"), colour, 1.1 Kg


Nishan Perera (Author), The National Trust Sri Lanka (Publisher)


This book provides an introduction to the coral and rocky reefs around Sri Lanka, with descriptions of different reef types and distribution in Sri Lanka, and information on basic reef ecology. It also provides information on animal behavior, marine conservation and other interesting aspects of the marine environment. The text is illustrated throughout with color photographs taken underwater in Sri Lanka. The book also brings to light the threats faced by these fragile ecosystems and highlights the need to conserve and manage what is an important part of Sri Lankas natural heritage.

Maritime Heritage of Lanka: Ancient Ports and Harbours

Book | Dec 2013 | ISBN 978-955-0093-07-6

200 pages, hardback, 29.0 cm (11.4") by 22.5 cm (8.9"), colour, 1.3 Kg


Nimal De Silva et al. (Authors), Sarala Fernando (Editor), The National Trust Sri Lanka (Publisher)


This publication is a collection of articles by several authors drawn from the perspectives of archeology, history, geography, biology and science, archival material combining with stunning photographs of the island today.

An Illustrated Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka

Book | Apr 2010 | ISBN 978-955-8576-26-7

372 pages, hardback, 13.8 cm (5.4") by 21.5 cm (8.5"), 52 Colour Plates, 492 Colour Distribution Maps, 1 Kg


Sarath Kotagama & Gamini Ratnavira (Authors), Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (Publisher)


This book is a comprehensive handbook describing the birds one can observe in this country. The guide goes beyond identification tips of the birds, including information such as the habitat the bird lives in, its behaviour, breeding, threatened status etc. Each bird's distribution is clearly marked on a coloured map including the global distribution of those migrating to Sri Lanka. With over 356 pages, 52 colour plates and the description of 492 species, the book is truly a condensed summary of the birds of Sri Lanka.

Marine Mammals of Sri Lanka:
Field Guide for Identification

Book | 2018 | Third Edition | ISBN 978-955-54534-3-1

40 pages, A5, paperback


Howard Martenstyn (Author & Publisher)


An essential field guide for identifying marine mammals at sea in the north Indian Ocean region. Thirty species are illustrated to depict markings along with key characteristics and diagnostic information that will enable any observer to quickly separate and identify each species at sea.

Pictorial Pocket Guide to the Mammals of Sri Lanka

Book | Dec 2013 | ISBN 978-955-8576-34-2

154 pages, 11.5 cm (4.5") by 19 cm (7.5"), colour & b/w illustrations, paperback


Sarath Kotagama & Sampath de A. Goonatilake (Author), Gamini Ratnavira (Illustrator)


The text and taxonomy of the Pictorial Pocket Guide to the Mammals of Sri Lanka - terrestrial and marine is based on the new publication on Mammals by Asoka Yapa and Gamini Ratnavira (The Mammals of Sri Lanka, 2013). This guide has been revised and expanded from the earlier publication (Pictorial Pocket Guide 3 - Mammals in Sri Lanka, 2004).

Field Guide to Reef Fishes of Sri Lanka:
Volume 1

Books | 2013 | ISBN 978-955-0205-25-7

104 pages, paperback


Arjan Rajasuriya (Author), Shantha Jayaweera (Illustrator), IUCN Sri Lanka (Publisher)


Using his marine experience of nearly four decades, the author has provided accurate descriptions of selected reef fishes, with precise illustrations by Shantha Jayaweera. This book long fills a gap, as country-specific field guides for Sri Lanka have not been readily available for marine enthusiasts to learn about reef fishes in its waters. 

Field Guide to Reef Fishes of Sri Lanka:
Volume 2

Books | 2013 | ISBN 978-955-0205-27-1

101 pages, paperback


Arjan Rajasuriya (Author), Shantha Jayaweera (Illustrator), IUCN Sri Lanka (Publisher)


The hope is that this field guide, along with its companion, volume 1, will be useful resources for snorkelers, divers, and all those interested in marine life in expanding their knowledge on identification of species found in the reef habitats of Sri Lanka.

© Howard Martenstyn

Read copyright & disclaimer notices.

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