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Sperm Whale

“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... they are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

                                       - Thomas Jefferson, 1787

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

Out of the Blue hardcover book Howard Martenstyn


Out of the Blue softcover book Howard Martenstyn slam.lk


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"A deep-rooted passion and a thirst for knowledge resulted in years of self-study, research and dedication to finally culminate in Howard Martenstyn’s Out of the Blue"


- Prasadini Nanayakkara

Explore Sri Lanka

February 2014

"Howard's life long love of water and the sea has resulted in an excellent documentation of the living treasures around our beloved Sri Lanka, the pearl of the indian ocean in his book 'Out of the Blue'. Fantastic work!"


- Gehan Salgado

President, Allied Flooring

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

February 19, 2014

Out of the Blue is the most comprehensive treatment of marine mammals – whales, dolphins, porpoises and dugongs and their environment in the northern region of the Indian Ocean. It features well over 300 stunning photographs, and close to 200 illustrations, paintings and maps. The author's unique depth of experience and knowledge, coupled with stunning photography and the artists and illustrators unrivaled skills, come together to produce this educationally-focused monumental publication that is well laid out and highly informative.


The book is organized into four parts to give well-rounded and effectively informed knowledge to the reader.


The first part includes early accounts of marine mammals in Sri Lankan waters and then, much like a mini-encyclopedia, providing answers to a collection of questions on marine mammals that cover topics such as behaviour, physiology, reproduction, and its form and function.


Next, a detailed catalogue gives individual profiles of 30 illustrated species on double page spreads such as morphology, behaviour, diet,

taxonomy and conservation status. The information here is manifold in that, outside of factual information colour coded tables indicate the probability of sightings at various depths and locations primarily based on analysis of over 3,700 sighting records.


The third section, stems from the author’s unique depth of experience with marine mammals and discovery of the relevance of bathymetry (depth of ocean floor) and other elements to their habits. This reflects his own progression to a fascination with oceanography and the correlation with marine mammal occurrences, especially concerning the larger whales. Explanations are offered on currents and various deep-sea parameters. Food, that vital ingredient, must be understood in terms of sources and relevant factors. It has been detailed in a most welcome, holistic approach to understanding the oceans and the life within them.


The final section deals with whale-and-dolphin watching. It provides information on when and where to go see marine mammals around Sri Lanka along with sighting distribution maps and guidelines for good conduct at sea.

"Approaching his passion with scientific precision, Howard has created what amounts to a mini-encyclopaedia of marine mammals in the region."


- Smriti Daniel

Senior Feature Writer

Sunday Times

December 01, 2013

"Like the mammals that do not care for international boundaries and roam as they please, your book has no boundaries. Your passion and love for these gentle creatures is evident. I am sure I hear a new humpback song - I believe they are talking about you!"


- Romany Rasquinho


November 27,2013

'Out of the Blue' Book Review

December 2014

Out of the Blue book Howard Martenstyn

By Dr. Hiran Jayewardene, IOMAC


The stunning photograph of a sperm whale breaching as depicted on the cover of the book symbolizes not only the wealth of information it brings forth, but also reflects the painstaking work at sea which underlies this publication. It was after many voyages out to sea and an earnest prayer that made it possible for Howard to capture this event – one that is not too common in Sri Lankan waters. The thunderclap and gigantic splash of a forty ton or more creature leaping out of the water and falling back is awesome: So is the impact of this book. Read more>>

"Beautiful. Howard has surpassed my expectations. A BIG thank you from the nature lover in me. A wealth of learning and more importantly generously shared. Please pass on my congratulations on a fantastic job."


- Keith Wijesuriya


November 27, 2013

'Out of the Blue' Book Review

February 01, 2014

Out of the Blue book Howard Martenstyn

By Prasadini Nanayakka, Explore Sri Lanka


A first sighting of dolphins in an estuary in 2005 marked the beginning of what can only be described as a labour of love. A deep-rooted passion and a thirst for knowledge resulted in years of self-study, research and dedication to finally culminate in Howard Martenstyn’s 'Out of the Blue'...


Read more>>

"A remarkable celebration of Sri Lanka's oceanic giants; six years and a lifetime in the making."


- Aman Ashraf

CEO Ashraf Assosiates

November 20, 2013

Discovering the Wonders of Our Region’s Waters

December 01, 2013

Out of the Blue book Howard Martenstyn

By Smriti Daniel (Senior Feature Writer, Sunday Times)


Dedicated to his late brother Cedric who introduced him to the magic of the vast ocean, Howard Martenstyn hopes his book, 'Out of the Blue' will be a guide to people who shape marine policy and also spark public interest.


Howard Martenstyn was only 12 years old when his brother threw him overboard. Cedric and he were on a boat off the coast of Trincomalee and Howard didn’t know how to swim. Suffice to say, he learned quickly.  Read more>>

"I think a well deserved CONGRATULATIONS are in order for this fantastic, sovereign piece of work done by you. Thank you Howard for all the effort, time and money you put into this unique piece of informative literature."


- Keith Anthony

Manager, Bar Reef Resort

November 05, 2013


'Marine Mammals of Sri Lanka: Field Guide for Identification'

Out of the Blue book Howard Martenstyn

Marine Mammals of Sri Lanka is the essential field guide to all of the marine mammals – whales, dolphins, porpoise and dugong found in Sri Lankan and adjacent waters of the north Indian Ocean. The author's unique depth of experience and knowledge coupled with the artist's unrivaled paintings come together to produce a well laid out and practical field guide that will enable any observer to quickly identify any mammal they may encounter at sea.


Thirty species are illustrated to depict markings along with key characteristics and diagnostic information which can be used to quickly separate and identify each species at sea.

Species information related to stranding identification is also included.


Each species is introduced with a currently accepted common name, followed by the scientific, and indigenous or translated Sinhala and Tamil common names. Also, status and distribution information is provided on the probability that the species is present in Sri Lankan waters as per geographic maritime province and depth.


The field guide is in colour and is printed and spiral bound in Sri Lanka with laminated art paper (waterproof) and pocket-sized (A5) for convenient use at sea.