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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa (12 - 17 Dec 14)

Dolphin & Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa from 12th December - 17th December 2014


DATE                                             # OF WHALES                                  # OF DOLPHINS


      2014.12.17                             Bryde Whale 02  

      2014.12.16                             Blue Whale 01                     Spinner Dolphins 20+

      2014.12.15                             Blue Whale 01                    
                                                  Bryde Whale 01

      2014.12.14                             Blue Whale 01                      Spinner Dolphins 30+

      2014.12.13                             Blue Whale 03+                    Spinner Dolphins 150+

      2014.12.12                             Blue Whale 05+                    Spinner Dolphins 50+




Data courtesy of Mirissa Water Sports (PVT) Ltd.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa (10 - 11 Dec 14)

Dolphin & Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa from 10th December - 11th December 2014


DATE                                             # OF WHALES                                  # OF DOLPHINS


      2014.12.11                           Blue Whale 05+                   Spinner Dolphins 100+
                                                   Pilot Whale 15+
                                                   Bryde Whale 01

      2014.12.10                           Blue Whales 10+                 ------------------------
                                                   Killer Whales 02 (ORCA)



Data courtesy of Mirissa Water Sports (PVT) Ltd.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tour Images 02/11 - 16/11

The following images were taken by one of our clients Grant Dawkins while on tour in Sri Lanka with Jetwing Eco Holidays from the 2nd - 16th November 2014. Wicky was his naturalist guide during the trip.

Oriental Dartar

Green Bee-eater

Land Monitor

Land Monitor

Garden Lizzard

Garden Lizzard

Indian Roller

Leopard

Leopard

Leopard

Leopard

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa (07 - 09 Dec 14)

Dolphin & Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa from 7th December - 9th December 2014

 DATE                                      # OF WHALES                                # OF DOLPHINS


      2014.12.09                              Blue Whale 10+                         Spinner Dolphins 50+
                                                                                                         Spotted dolphins 50+

      2014.12.08                              Blue Whale 06+                         Rissos Dolphins 20+

      2014.12.07                              Blue Whale 05+                         Spotted Dolphins 25+
                                                                                                         Spinner Dolphins 25+   


Data courtesy of Mirissa Water Sports (PVT) Ltd.

Saving Sri Lankas Whales




Published on Nov 3, 2014
New York Times reporter Erik Olsen produced this wonderful little piece about the novel research I was conducting in collaboration with researchers from Duke University, USA. It also describes my passion for solving the blue whale ship-strike problem

Monday, December 8, 2014

Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa (28 Nov - 06 Dec 14)

Dolphin & Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa from 28th November - 6th December 2014

DATE                                             # OF WHALES                                  # OF DOLPHINS


      2014.12.06                              Blue Whale 01                     Spotted Dolphins 25+
                                                      Bryde whale 01

      2014.12.05                              Sperm Whale 02
                                                      (Mother & Calf)

     
      2014.12.04                               Bryde Whale 03                  Spinner Dolphins 20+

      2014.12.03                               Blue Whale 02

      2014.12.02                               Blue Whale 03

      2014.12.01                               Blue Whale 01                    Spinner Dolphins 20+
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Bottlenose Dolphins10+

      2014.11.30                               Blue Whale 01 

      2014.11.29                               Blue Whale 05+

     2014.11.28                                 Blue Whale 01                        Spinner Dolphins 20+


Data courtesy of Mirissa Water Sports (PVT) Ltd.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Jetwing Yala wins best sustainability award

Jetwing Yala, launched at the beginning of 2014 and a flagship property of Sri Lanka's premier hospitality brand was victorious at the Best Sustainability Project Awards 2014 – a part of the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2014.


Ceylontoday, 2014-12-04 02:00:00
Jetwing Yala wins best sustainability award
Jetwing Yala, launched at the beginning of 2014 and a flagship property of Sri Lanka's premier hospitality brand was victorious at the Best Sustainability Project Awards 2014 – a part of the Best Corporate Citizen Sustainability Awards 2014.
Organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce, the Awards have been a long-standing recognition of the efforts displayed by the corporate sector in implementing sustainable practices and efficient processes to minimize environmental impact and enhance communities and their development. Held for the 11th consecutive year, the Awards featured many organizations and companies showcase their corporate social responsibility initiatives. Introduced by the Ceylon Chamber to encourage businesses to think beyond their bottom line by investing some of their gains in philanthropic activities that benefit the environment and society at large, the Best Sustainability Project Awards saw five outstanding initiatives being recognized after a thorough evaluation, presentation and interview by an independent panel and judges.

Initially implemented at Jetwing Vil Uyana in 2006, the Jetwing Youth Development Project is an initiative designed to empower rural, underprivileged youth that cannot afford higher education. The initiative provides training for suitable employment within Jetwing Hotels as well as creating opportunities for them to find employment elsewhere within the hospitality industry. Developed to address the growing problem of youth unemployment, and to provide a solution for the manpower shortage in the hospitality industry, JYDP relies on the involvement and support of local communities.
Focusing on bridging the gap between the unskilled and the skilled by equipping them for employment, JYDP provides training absolutely free to school leavers from disadvantaged families in rural areas.

Jetwing Yala was home to the 7th programme under the JYDP initiative, and provided training for youth from the villages of Kirinda, Katharagama, Tissamaharama and Hambantota. The 8 month programme commenced on the 15th of January 2013, ending on the 16th of August 2013, was held in collaboration with partner organisations, namely, Kavantissa Vocational Training Centre (KVTC), CARE International Sri Lanka, and World University Services of Canada (WUSC). The subjects covered under JYDP are entry level technical inputs on the four core operational areas, which are: Front Office, Housekeeping, Kitchen, and Food & Beverage service. These four areas are supported with personal and professional development inputs. All sessions are held under the guidance of the Training and Development team of Jetwing Hotels.
"My father always firmly maintained that tourism is an industry that cannot exist in isolation", said Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing. "The potential that lies in hospitality and tourism - elements that we are known and famed for all over the world- is immense, and that potential can be harnessed by our youth.
The JYDP that was held at Jetwing Yala was very successful, and I am happy to say that out of 82 participants, over 30 were young women. This industry has much to offer, to our country, its people, and its visitors – the Jetwing Youth Development Project will benefit all three" he continued.

Family owned and in the tourism industry for the past 41 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. Considered a priority, sustainable and responsible practice is implemented through the award winning Jetwing Eternal Earth Programme; with energy efficiency, community upliftment, and education of earth saving measures to schoolchildren being a few tenets of the Programme.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Finding, Eating & Writing about the Best Vegan Food in the World - JETWING VIL UYANA SRI LANKA

JETWING VIL UYANA – SRI LANKA

When we arrived at Jetwing Vil Uyana, a peaceful resort that is a member of ‘Small Luxury Hotels of the World’, we were instantly bowled over by the peaceful atmosphere, beautiful open design and natural beauty that is everywhere (you really can’t ignore it).
From the lotus filled ponds, to the lake that is home to many species of birds and fish, you’ll never feel far away from nature here.
Vil Uyana has a serene setting that is at one with nature.
Jetwing Vil Uyana has a serene setting where you’ll feel at one with nature.
After having seen the resident naturist’s chalk board in the reception area that recorded the recent nature sightings, we set our hearts on seeing the wild crocodile that can be spotted in the Jetwing Vil Uyana lake.
As “all good things come to those who wait” (or so the saying goes), we headed to the open library area which overlooked the water, and we waited.
The open library at Vil Uyana was a peaceful place to watch nature.
The open library at Vil Uyana was a peaceful place to watch nature.
We saw graceful birds, leaping fish and then we caught a treasured glimpse of a crocodile.
Amazing.
Our patience was rewarded by seeing this magnificent crocodile!
Our patience was rewarded by seeing this magnificent crocodile!
But the close proximity to wildlife and the beautifully designed spaces in the resort (including the wonderful ‘dwellings’) are not the only things to get excited about as vegan guests staying at Jetwing Vil Uyana.
The vegan food is definitely something to be happy about.

The Vegan Food:

The best dining options for vegans in Sri Lanka is to opt for the vegan local cuisine so that’s what we did at Jetwing Vil Uyana.
At breakfast we ate traditional Sri Lankan ‘Kola Kanda’, a healthy coconut milk, rice and green leaf thin soup.
A healthy green way to start the day (tasty too!)
A healthy green way to start the day (tasty too!)
This was followed by dosai with dahl, vegetable curry and pol sambol (spicy coconut chutney made from fresh coconuts, chilli and shallots).
Love sri Lankan dosai which are soft and spongy with a great flavour from teh fermented rice batter.
Love Sri Lankan dosai which are soft and spongy with a great flavour from the fermented rice batter.
Vil Uyana_4638
Tasty dahl is always welcome at our table.
We also ate delicious string hoppers (steamed rice noodles), so light and fluffy and a perfect accompaniment to a mild ‘kiri hodi’ potato curry (a coconut milk based curry flavoured with pandan, curry leaves and mustard seeds) and spicy ‘pol sambol’.
String hoppers with spicy pol sambol
String hoppers with spicy pol sambol
String hoppers with spicy pol sambl and kiri hodi potato curry.
String hoppers with spicy pol sambl and kiri hodi potato curry.
At dinner time we we served a pretty platter of vegan canapes whilst we were waiting for our Sri Lankan ‘rice and curry’ to arrive.
Delightful little tasty vegan mouthfuls.
Delightful little tasty vegan mouthfuls.
A selection of wonderful plant-based curries and a herbal coconut salad, served with steamed rice and papadums.
A selection of wonderful plant-based curries and a herbal coconut salad, served with steamed rice and papadums.
Our favourite? Definitely the okra in creamy turmeric laden coconut milk.
We’ve normally only ever eaten tomato based or dry ‘tempered’ okra dishes and so this coconut milk curry was something new with the creamy curry and the gooey okra juice working really well together!
Another cooking style typical of Sri Lankan cuisine, our ‘Devilled Vegetables’ were the perfect plant-based way to try this spicy taste sensation.
The sauce was rich and tomatoey but spicy and sweet too with fruity fresh pineapple, sweet onions and smoked chillies all adding their own little bit to the flavour.
Delicious vegan Sri Lankan 'rice and curry'.
Delicious vegan Sri Lankan ‘rice and curry’.

The Vegan Essentials:

Our beautiful ‘dwelling’ already had 100% vegan pillows and duvet – a perfect feather-free sleep for us!
Vil Uyana-Bedroom of Marsh, Paddy And Water Dwellings
Our ‘dwelling’ which was complete with vegan pillows and duvet…
The amenities were in refillable containers (in line with Jetwing’s environmental ‘Eternal Earth Programme’) but as we couldn’t see the ingredients, we just used our own products.
The spa was yet another peaceful part of the resort and we tested out a short head and neck massage which was very pleasant.
The products used in the spa are from Link Naturals – a Sri Lankan company selling Ayurvedic products both in Sri Lanka and abroad. We’re not sure whether any of the products are vegan yet but will update details here as soon as we find out.
Entrance to the spa at Vil Uyana.
Entrance to the spa at Jetwing Vil Uyana.

The Vegan Food Quest Verdict:

Check in here for a luxury hotel stay where you’ll be impressed by the opportunity to be close to nature as well as by the vegan food.
Opt for vegan versions of traditional Sri Lankan food and feast on delicious curries as well as hoppers and dosai.
Enjoy staying in a beautiful villa where you’ll find it easy to relax and don’t forget to keep lookout for that wild crocodile!
cropped-cropped-VFQ-banner-web.jpg


We were guests of Jetwing Vil Uyana but please rest assured that their generosity in hosting us didn’t influence our views.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa (22 - 27 Nov 14)

Dolphin & Whale Watching Sightings at Mirissa from 22nd - 27th November 2014


DATE                                             # OF WHALES                                  # OF DOLPHINS

     2014.11.27                                 Blue Whale 01                        Spinner Dolphins 20+

     2014.11.26                                 Blue Whale 01                        Spinner Dolphins 20+   

     2014.11.25                                 Blue Whale 01                        --------------

     2014.11.24                                 Blue Whale 01                        --------------

     2014.11.23                                 Blue Whale 04                        --------------
                                                     Bryde Whale 04

     2014.11.22                                 Blue Whale 01                        Spinner Dolphins 100+




Data courtesy of Mirissa Water Sports (PVT) Ltd.