Risso's dolphins Kalpitiya Sri Lanka's Amazing Maritime

The ‘Whale Whisperer’ resurfaces…


reveals his brand-new edition


Standing on the shore of the sea of life, its easy to wonder ‘what if’. And shrink back.

Or – like Howard Martenstyn you can muse that life is an ocean of experience and dive right in!

For the better part of the year, this wild about whales’ enthusiast has been immersed in realms of research, an overload of photographs, and never ending facts and figures all which translated into a sublime collection of awe inspiring marine pictures, meticulous up-to-date data – captured in a long awaited revised edition, launched just last week.

To understand his desire to open his world out to us again, one must start by trying to appreciate his world.

Who doesn’t love whales? Along with dolphins these majestic marine mammals are revered the world over. Watching the way, they move, hearing the sounds they make is both hypnotic and calming. These intelligent, mysterious and resilient animals are an evolutionary marvel and key players in the marine eco system. The mystery and grandeur of the ocean that accounts for 90% of the biosphere is graced with thousands of dolphins and whales.

Sadly, whales were pushed into near extinction through whaling in the last century. Thankfully the numbers have rebounded tremendously thanks to awareness and their growing protected status.

While most of us are content to watch these animals from relatively close by Howard has taken his passion to another dimension, he has spent so many hours in research that he has literally travelled more than halfway around the world in Sri Lankan waters. He has written, re-written & re re written and with the help of his brilliant editor Richard Simon, brought this book to a whole new level.

His love affair with the ocean and fascination of the oceans biodiversity started way back in his childhood when his brother, Cedric threw him over board a boat & simply said ‘swim to the other boat!’. Howard literary works are dedicated to his brother Commander Cedric Martenstyn who served in the Sri Lanka Navy. Spending much time operating from his other brother Dallas’s hotels in Kalpitiya, his knowledge grew in bounds.

The more time Howard spent gleaning information on these majestic creatures, the more his desire to inspire and instill this appreciation and respect in the next generation grew. And to this end he wil,l next year donate 4000 Sinhala books of an edited & translated copy of his new book to coastal schools, hopefully giving the students a new appreciation of the marine world at their doorstep, and promote best practices while watching marine life.

Howard particularly dislikes marine life in captivity because, no tank, no aquarium however large, however decorated can ever replicate the conditions of the rivers and seas.

A past pupil of the famed St. Thomas College Mt Lavinia and a corporate success in the field of engineering, Howard feels that in retirement he has finally found his calling.

Howard has been a recipient of the coveted top award for Best Sri Lankan website in the Travel and Tourism category having designed the website himself.

He was a director of CRIOMM (Centre of Research for Indian Ocean Marine Mammals) and a part time educator on marine life to the navy.

His launch was widely attended by enthusiasts and well-wishers alike.

There is a little bit of the ocean in everyone of us but more so in Howard Martenstyn.

We eagerly await to see what he will come up with next.

This article appeared in Esteem Prime magazine, Sri Lanka, December/January 2019 issue.