Thursday, 22 May 2008

Secrets - May 2008 Whales, Plates made of Leaves and a video from 1932

Pictures are from LBO website


From July 2008, Secrets of Ceylon will bring you news and information about special hotels and places to visit in Ceylon. Ceylon was the name for Sri Lanka when the British ruled over Sri Lanka. This year (February 2008) is 60 years since Sri Lanka gained independence.

Ceylon is well known for her tea, gems, friendly people and unique customs and traditions. Through this news bulletin, we will remind you of these, and also show you the new gems that Ceylon has to offer.

Did you know that :

  • Ceylon has whale watching on the south east coast and according to recent studies show that this is one of the best spots to see the blue whale

  • Ceylon has new eco friendly crockery made out of leaves

(see below for the story)

See an interesting video on Ceylon :
Tropical Ceylon 1932

Jean-Marc Flambert

Giant Location
By Charitha Fernando
For the full story visit (

Sri Lanka among top blue whale spots in the world
May 07, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka may be one of the easiest places to watch whales, allowing it to become a global top spot to watch blue and sperm whales, a researcher and an eco-tourism specialist have said.
"I think Sri Lanka has enormous potential to be a whale destination," marine biologist Charles Anderson, who had been studying Indian Ocean whales for 24 years from the Maldives, told LBO after an observation tour in the South of Sri Lanka.
"My experience was fantastic."
A high concentration of blue whales and sperm whales has been spotted in the seas off Dondra Head along the deep south coast of Sri Lanka during the months of January to April.
"We spent most of April going out to the sea, to see marine mammals and we have been very successful," says Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, chief executive of Jetwing Eco.

"Our naturalist at the Light House hotel in Galle, Anoma Algiyawadu, went out on 24 occasions up to April 26, and on very one of those occasions, he saw blue whales.
"Anoma had sometimes seen three, some times five and even ten blue whales, off Dondra point.
"I went out myself and I too saw blue whales every single occasion, I also saw sperm whales on different occasions," he said.
The frequency as well as the proximity to the shore makes Sri Lanka one of the easiest places in the world to spot blue or sperm whales.
Blue whales are possibly the largest animals on earth growing up to some 110 feet in length and weighing up to some 180 metric tons.
They feed on krill, a shrimp like marine invertebrate. Sperm whales, the largest carnivore mammals, mostly feed on squid and octopus in the deep sea bed.
Naturalists say conditions around the island are good for whale habitat due to the nutrient flow from the country's river system.
Though Trincomalee was earlier tipped to be a whale watching hot spot, security restrictions had shelved projects to develop whale watching in the area.
The Voyage of Odyssey, the second research vessel to do research on marine life off Sri Lanka's southern coast in 2003, had also documented whale sightings.
"To see a Blue whale at sea is something most of us can only dream about. To see more than one in a lifetime is a rarity reserved for a fortunate few," Genevieve Johnson, a research crew member, was quoted as saying in one of the reports in 2003.
"To see so many in Sri Lankan waters is good news indeed."

Leafy Dishes
By Charitha Fernando
For the full story visit (

Sri Lanka leaf plate maker entices tourist industry
May 04, 2008 (LBO) – A Sri Lankan entrepreneur is adding value to throw-away plant leaf matter by making bio-degradable plates and dishes which are starting to be used by the leisure industry.
A.U.S.K. Chandrasiri makes disposable plates, dishes, lunch boxes and cups from teak, banana, palm leaf and areca nut leaf sheaths known locally as the Kolapatha, replacing environmentally harmful plastic, polythene and Styrofoam containers. Chandrasiri says his leaf products are made from 100 percent bio degradable materials and is leak proof, non toxic and light in weight.
His eco friendly products are high in demand from nearby hotels that use them to serve salads, curries and deserts to foreign tourists.
"Our foreign guests admire these plates and dishes very much. They like to eat out of these locally made environmentally friendly plates and dishes," Lucian Joseph, Restaurant Manager, of Gimanhala, a hotel in Dambulla said.
"We serve bread and butter, salads and grilled fish and chicken in these leaf plates and trays," he said.
"Every hotel offers fruit juice in glasses but with Mr. Chandrasiri's eco friendly invention, we are now offering guests the welcome drink in cups made out of areca nut leaves," Joseph said.
"They are surprised as to how this cup is made from an areca nut leaf without any leaks.
"Some admire them so much that they take a few as souvenirs back with them," he said.

Chandrasiri says areca nut leaves are nothing new to Sri Lanka as they had been used by Sri Lanka' indigenous people called weddas since early days.
"The areca nut leaf is nothing new to Sri Lanka. Our ancestors had used areca nut leaves to wrap food to prevent it from spoiling," he said.
"Food such as meats, honey and fruits had been stored in areca nut leaf bags," he said.
"After using the areca nut leaves the weddas used to wash them and hang them over firewood hearths to make them germ-free," he said.

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