Easter Sunday suicide bomb was not a religious act but a barberic act against humanity.
Tourism cannot ever be completely green or fully socially responsible, since each of us would negatively affect the environment in some way or the other. This is one reason why sustainable and responsible start-ups are necessary more than ever before. We wish to keep our natural, cultural and social environment in balance. And below we have highlight our mission in a nut-shell.
We are a team of locals focused on the development and inclusion of the Local Economy. We not only employ locals as team members, we also involve over 99% of local stakeholders in each business area. We emphasise in providing all year around income to our team members, which is a substantial part of our strategy. We take services-selection criteria very seriously, we thrive to offer only those services that we can sustain with our local team members. We avoid preparing food items which are not regional/local-produce (km0). We have removed meat/beef completely from our menu and replaced it with soya products. The only meat product we offer is chicken and we would love to remove this also from our menu in the future. With these measures we contribute heavily to the local economy and at the same time encourage a partnership based tourism model through a sustainable outlook.
We have objected to getting GRID electricity, since concrete electrical posts along the water would destroy the natural look of our lagoon front. We have Solar run lights which reduces the use of our diesel Generator.
In case you wish to get details of our efforts, please feel free to drop us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
When ever there is no wind, the best thing to do is get a book and find a nice and comfy place within our village and read. Shutdown, disconnect from the whole world. But in case you have done this already and now you don't know what to do, we can still help you. Below you can find a list of things which can be done, irrespective where you are staying in Kalpitiya and season. There are a list of day trips that we recommend as well. This list is apart from the day trips, what a person can do in Kalpitiya itself.
- Elephant tree visit - one of the oldest trees in the close vicinity of Kalpitiya : Bio-Bab tree. This tree is supposed to be 700 years of age. And seems to have been brought by the Arab dwellers who came to Sri lanka. These dwellers had goats with them and goats are in love with the leaves of this tree. there is also a baby tree right behind this one. The ride to the "Elephant tree takes around 30mins by boat and it is an area where there is no civilization. It is bordering Willpattu national park
- Collect Mussels for Dinner - Just grab a clay pot or a bucket and ask one of the locals to show you how this is done. This brings back childhood memories. Just don't think about anything and just collect those delicious mussels. The kitchen team of Ruuk Village would prepare it for you for either Lunch or dinner
- Yoga in the morning or in the evening - Most of the time we have a yogi who spends few weeks with us during the season. Most of the time these are individuals discovering the world and who has opted to offer their knowledge and passion to others for free. We are so happy to have the chance to host these travelers. Individuals who sacrifice their time to make the world a better place. Enjoy a yoga session with these amazing yogis from all around the globe. A minimum number of three guests.
- learn how to make your own virgin coconut oil - The fact that we are living within a coconut plantation allows us to take advantage. You can experience the complete process of making coconut-oil. Take part in the process actively. This is how our grand mothers won oil for cooking and frying of food. Enjoy the healthy coconut water during the process.
- Learn to prepare curry powder / cook your own curry - We never purchase ready made curry powders from the shops. Most of the available products areof low quality. We purchase our the ingredients for spice mixes. Wash them to clean them of dust and other unwanted stuff. Dry it in the natural sun light. Then we mix them the way we want. The kitchen ladies have been mixing curry powders since they were young girls. You can inform the team when you would like to take part in a cooking session. Learn how to cook and prepare a meal with 3 dishes. Then you can also purchase a mix of roasted curry powder and a non-roasted curry powder.
- Visit the Buddhist temple in Anamaduwa - During a sunday the best no wind activity that you can do is to get the local team to organize a vehicle for you to visit the temple. Experience how the locals spend their Sunday in a temple. Enjoy the scenic view from the top of the Temple rock.
- Do you like to experience the fishermen coming back from their days catch - around 16:00hrs, except on Sundays you can experience how the fishermen come back to the small fishing harbor next to Ruuk Village. Just take stroll to the jetty with your camera.
- Visit the main fishing harbor in kalpitiya - take your camera and avoid the mid day sun ( during 12hrs - 15hrs) take a TukTuk or a walk to Kalpitiya town center. Have the TukTuk driver to also take you around the small fishermen houses around the harbor. Make sure you have appropriate clothind. Kalpitiya is a laid back village and consists of Muslims , Christians , Hindu and budhists.
- Play volleyball with the local team - Voleyball is a national sport and played all over the country. Most of the school kids choose volleyball as the sport during thier scool days. the local team loves to play a game of volleyball with you. And you can learn one or the other trick from them, or maybe its the other way around. what every it is, you will enjoy playing a game with the local team.
- Learn how to make Kottu-Rotti - Most famous stree food in sri lanka. this can be compared how the birth of pizza. the birth place ( geographically ) is not that clear. But Sri Lankans beleive it was a Sri Lankan discovery. the fact is, that no one else in asis has this art of street food. Within Ruuk vilalge, you can learn how it is made.
During the season December 2014 up to April 2015 we had number of tours which were organized by Ruuk Village.
All our tours are organized with skilled boatsmen from the local fishing communities. Most of these persons are from the surrounding fishing communities and are perfect guides on the water, with their long years of experience but most of these persons are not trained tour guides. Which means they are authentic. We choose these boat owners to provide our tours since we want the local community to profit directly from tourism in the region. And in years to come they will master tour guiding skill on the job.
Most of the time its only two people who have taken these tours with us. This fact in return makes it difficult to make it cost competitive with tours which are done in the south coast. Down in the south coast, you have boats which can occupy up to 40 passengers sometimes, and this reduces the cost per head dramatically.
In kalpitiya it is more a unique experience where you are guided by experienced fishermen who offer their boat service to small business like Ruuk Village. In most cases just two of you and two local guides trying their best to locate Dolphins out in the open indian ocean. These boats spend averagely up to about 3 hours in the water looking for Dolphin hangouts.
Below i have listed locations, to give you a rough idea about how far one needs tot travel in one of the small fishing boat which is converted in to a small passenger boat with a capacity of up to 6. Unfortunately if only two guests are available for one boat the cost of transport is then divided between the two. And incase there are 6 who are doing the trip, then the price of the tour becomes much economical. Just incase if you are in search of more economical prices and do not mind travelling in a boat where there can be up to 40 odd passengers, they it would be best that you travel down south to spot the dolphins and whales. But if you are a individual traveler who apprciates personal service even though it might not have the highest standards of tourism. But pure and authentic, then you are in the right palce ( Kalpitiya ).
Bar reef is around 16km from RuukVillage beach ( 8.2 sea neutical miles).
Use the following link to check on goole maps
Or use the following url : www.tinyurl.com/RuukVillageBarReef
Use the following link to understand how far we drive in to open sea to see pods of dolphins. Use the following link to check on
Or use the following url : www.tinyurl.com/RuukVillageDolphin
Description how these small fishing boat locate dolphins
When the sea is calm, small fishing communities can go in to the deeper water to look where the tuna is moving, and these small fishing communities live off this art of fishing. And to complement this situation, the dolphins also hunt for tuna. This is exactly the situation that every dolphin safari boat is keeping an eye out for. Our local boatsmen do is, look where the small fishing boats hangout to do their fishing, and then check their surroundings accordingly.
If the small fishing boats are there and then also the flocks of tuna, then the dolphins are there too. Throughout the year the above mentioned hunt of tuna by dolphins takes place, but due to the reason that there are no small fishing boats to spot them, it is then difficult for our local boatsmen to spot the dolphins. When the indian ocean becomes rough the small fishing boat don't go out that often anymore. This means the season is declared from November to March when the winds die out.
We at Ruuk Village believe that when you are traveling, it's the road you take rather than the final destination that really matters. For this very reason, we offer a beautiful fully restored Volkswagen combi (T2) and a driver, so that on arrival, you can relax and enjoy your first Sri Lankan journey without a fuss.
The distance from Sri Lanka's International airport (Colombo) to Kalpitiya is only 144km. But in Sri Lanka we measure distance in time, not kilometres.
With our airport transfer you will feel the surroundings that you pass by. You will smell the fresh air, the animals which cross the road, the trees and the fruits stalls that you will pass on the windy country road north to Kalpitiya.
The road may be long (4 hours), but you will remember this ride for years to come.
Please direct any enquires to email@example.com
More infos about the "Ruuk Mobile" can be found here: www.vwbulli-srilanka.com
We can also provide transport for other main destinations in Sri Lanka.
I have been wanting to cover this topic for few weeks / months but never had enough time to do so. Since I am not a writer by profession I will just write down my thoughts as they come to my mind.
FEW FACTS ABOUT TOURISM IN SRI LANKA
- Tourists have always been traveling to Sri Lanka and an increase in numbers were even seen back in 1968.
- One of the famous places where tourists flocked to, was Hikkaduwa back in the "flower power" days. Mt-Lavinia beach in the outskirts of Colombo has also been a famous place in the early 1970s.
- In 1983 when insurgency irrupted between central government forces and a Rebel group, the numbers of tourists arriving to Sri lanka started to drop drastically.
- But through out the years, Sri Lankans who had small family run businesses, kept their doors open even though the number of guests were sometimes not enough even to cover their overheads.
- Unrest prevailed over and over again until the year 2009, and the tourism industry was badly hit.
- The war which cost so many lives of Sri lankans came to a bitter end in 2009 and ever since, places which were underdeveloped have started to see increased numbers of tourists. Kalpitiya is one such place.
- Kalpitiya was discovered as a Kiting destination by few expats back in 2007 / 08 and since then few small entrepreneurs ( locals and expats ) have set up locations where different types of services are offered.
- It is also important to mention the price of Petrol / Diesel / Kerosine in Sri Lanka, its almost the same price as if you would buy a litre else where in Europe or rest of the world ( sure not in the countries where Oil is cheaper than water ). And the cost of a vehicle is almost the double the price as in Europe. So when an airport pickup (for 144km) costs 65€, its not expensive but its just below the average prices.
WHEN A LOCAL OPENS A SMALL ROAD SIDE SHOP, USING HIS LIVING ROOM, WHERE ONE CAN HAVE A DECENT MEAL, PRICE OF THAT PARTICULAR SERVICE IS MUCH MORE ECONOMICAL FOR THE CUSTOMERS. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND A PERSON (SMALL INVESTOR) WHO COMES TO THAT AREA, BUYS A PROPERTY, BUILDS A SHOP AND STARTS TO PRODUCE THE SAME PRODUCT WILL HAVE A DIFFERENT PRICE. THIS REFLECTS JUST BASIC ECONOMICAL PRINCIPLES. LOGICALLY THIS IS BECAUSE HIS INVESTMENT TO OFFER THE SAME SERVICE IS MUCH HIGHER THAN THE LOCAL WHO LIVES IN THAT AREA. LIKE I ALREADY MENTIONED, THIS REFLECTS BASIC ECONOMICAL PRINCIPLES.
A family or a local person who turns his living room / garden into a room makes a much smaller investment than a person who creates an area where basic needs ( Electricity and running water to name a few) are available and also employs a small team to provide those services to makes the guests' stay as comfortable as possible. A family renting out their backyard room would not directly consider things such as : fixed costs, variable costs and annual depreciation costs, when they decide how much their room shall cost.
When I came to Kalpitiya for the first time, there were hardly any one (from Kalpitiya) offering services to visitors and travelers. It was mostly expats and Sri Lankans who had come to Kalpitiya from other parts of the island. Most of the places had intensive prices for basic services that they offered, and I partially understood the reason behind it. Personally, I was still not happy with way things have been developing in the area. But I still clearly understood that, the principles of: "demand and offer" were governing the price of services which were offered in Kalpitiya.
I used to ask myself, why would a traveler, travel almost more than 16 hours, door to door ( European mostly ) and have to spend the same amount as if he/she had travelled to south of Europe, even Egypt /Tunisia or Turkey. This was also one reason to create "Ruuk Village" from scracth which could fill in the missing offer in Kalpitiya, a place where visitors to Kalpitiya could have services by the lagoon at an affordable price.
There are different offers in Kalpitiya, and each visitor could choose between a range of services VS price. And each price has its governing principles.
There were hardly any places where a traveller or a Kiter could find a decent room with decent sanitary standards, so therefore travelers who came to Kalpitiya had no choice but pay the prices which were listed by the few establishments who offered services to visitors of Kalpitiya.
PRICE VS OFFER
In most areas of Kalpitiya Peninsula there are local families offering services but most of these families are not by the water, which means, if a traveller values living by the water with easy access to the lagoon where most of the activities takes place, then there is a price that you need to take in to consideration. And this is the biggest difference when you compare Kalpitiya with other famous places of Sri Lanka.
The bottom line is, you can never compare the price that you pay for a room/meals in a "Farm house ( managed and run by a family )" with the price that you need to pay in a "Alm hut" in the mountains with a great view. Choose your services wisely and be aware of how "the price" for a service is calculated. Basic economic principles govern the end price of a product. And we as consumers always have a choice.
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne offers compelling evidence why Kalpitiya can be one of Sri Lanka's three whale watching hot spots. This is the story of his quest to verify a theory by British marine scientist Dr. Charles Anderson
Text and Pics by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne
As I walked to the beach an Indian Nightjar churred. I was sensing the world through my ears. I was in a world of darkness, like the one inhabited by the Sperm Whales. In their world, in the murky depths where no light penetrates, they will 'see' with sound, using echo-location.
Waves gently lapped the shoreline in front of the boat house at the Alankuda Beach Resort. The silent murmur of the sea was abruptly broken by the scream of a powerful out-board engine as we thundered out, hurtling across the reef at 30 kmph to where the continental shelf plunged away into a deep abyss. I was heading in the darkness before day break, in search of the creatures of the darkness of the deep. I had instructed the boatman Susantha to head west, in search of whales and answers to another theory put forward by British marine scientist Dr. Charles Anderson.
An orange fireball lurked below the Eastern horizon, still waiting to be uncovered by the Earth's rotation. I was on my way for one more of my dedicated whale watching trips in Kalpitiya. Amazing as it may seem, it seems that this was the first serious, dedicated effort to look for whales off Kalpitiya and to ascertain whether whale watching could work as an eco-tourism product. It is not that others had not seen whales before.
But almost all of them had been chance encounters of people watching dolphins in-shore of the reef. No one it seems had so far made a serious effort to go in search of whales beyond the reef which lies around 6 km out, roughly parallel to the peninsula. Any references to the reef in this article is not to Barr Reef which is off Kandakuliya.
Trincomalee has been known for its whales since the 1980s. But it is yet to be assessed for its whale watching strike rate in the post-war environment. I had already led the publicity campaign for Dondra. I was back in Kalpitiya to research another story - that Kalpitiya could be the next whale watching hot spot in Sri Lanka.
My last effort on April 19, 2009 to look for whales off Kalpitiya was thwarted by bad weather. With the boat buffeted by strong waves, and the chances of spotting a blow almost nil, I called off the search and decided to bide my time for the next season after the current south-west monsoon had spent its energy.
My next dedicated whale watching session off Kalpitiya had been the day before, on Tuesday, February 23, 2010. Two boats had set out. One had Sandie Dawe, the chief executive of Visit Britain, with her husband Jock. They would follow the 'Dolphin Line', broadly an area which ran north-south parallel to the Kalpitiya peninsula, in-shore of the reef.
The other boat, prepared with three tanks of fuel and food and water for a long sea faring session carried Dallas Martenstyn, English photographer Georgina Viney and myself with boatman Susantha for a deep sea mission. None of what I have done in Kalpitiya would have been possible without the help of Dallas and his team who put together all the logistics for my whale watching trips. It is thanks to Dallas and his fellow investors at Alankuda that the world learnt about the dolphin watching at Kalpitiya. As we headed out, we paused a few times to gauge the depth using a fish finder.
The whale watching effort this time got off to a fairytale start. We had left at 7 a.m. and at 7.55 a.m., Georgina spotted the first blow whilst Dallas and I were fiddling with our two GPS units. We were at N 08 03 583 E 79 35 300 approximately seven nautical miles out from the shore (Alankuda Beach Resort is at N 08 03 121 E 79 42 560). We had encountered a group of five Sperm Whales. I explained to Susantha he should never make a direct bearing to the whale and the importance of keeping a distance from the whale where it would be comfortable with the boat.
We spent about 15 minutes with the school that were travelling on a south to north trajectory parallel to the peninsula.
I was elated that the search for whales had been so successful. Determined to find more whales, the third consecutive whale watching session had begun before day break. I was joined once again by Nikki Connolly and Linda Fennell who had been excited by the images I had taken the previous morning. These are probably the first images of Sperm Whales taken off Kalpitiya of a publishable standard.
We headed out due west and then travelled on a south to north axis past the previous day's sighting which I had marked on Jonathan Martenstyn's GPS unit.
We continued north keeping out at sea at a distance of around seven nautical miles, with the shoreline no longer in sight. Three hours of searching yielded nothing when on the way back, I saw a burst of spray dancing over the waves. We had found Sperm Whales. There was a group of three and another pair. They were travelling south, on a south-north trajectory, at a pace of around 10 kmph. Susantha knew how to handle them this time and we spent over an hour with the group keeping a comfortable distance and trying out the arc-forward a few times.
Susantha said that he had come out just once before beyond the reef to look for whales. It had been with some of the staff. With clients they always stayed in-shore of the reef to look for dolphins and encountered a stray whale about once every three weeks.
That evening I spoke to Jonathan Martenstyn who runs the boats from Dolphin Beach. He confirmed that they stay in-shore of the reef and had never gone looking for whales. He said their rate of encounter with whales was less than Alankuda who ran more dolphin trips.
Chitral Jayathilake of John Keells who runs the whale watching from Mirissa and dolphin watching from Kalpitiya also confirmed that they stayed in-shore of the reef. Chitral had never gone out to look for whales off Kalpitiya and had never seen one here, in-shore or off-shore of the reef. Even Dallas Martenstyn had told me that the only time he went out beyond the reef to look for whales was when he had gone out with Georgina and me the previous morning.
It seems quite astonishing that with Kalpitiya becoming publicly known two years earlier for its dolphin watching no one had made a dedicated effort to whale watch and evaluate whale watching as an eco-tourism product from Kalpitiya.
It was not that people had not reported whales from Kalpitiya before. There had been a trickle of reports from people who had gone dolphin watching. Initially, I had dismissed them as chance events. I was a sceptic until March 2009. No one had offered a concrete reason why Kalpitiya should be good for whales.
My earlier doubts about Kalpitiya being good for whales had to do with the location of the continental shelf. I knew the continental shelf held the key to an area of sea being good for whale watching. It had to be close to land. I had looked for whales off Negombo and Kirinda for example and failed because one had to travel out over 30 nautical miles to reach the edge of the shelf.
In May 2008, I had taken the story to the world that the seas south of Mirissa was beyond doubt the best place in the world for seeing Blue Whales. My conviction was based on field results of a theory by Dr Charles Anderson. In addition to a theory of a migratory movement, a key to the ease and proximity of sightings was the fact that the continental shelf pinched in very close to Dondra Head.
My interpretation of Admiralty Chart No 828 Cochin to Vishakhapatnam was that the continental shelf was just too far out from Kalpitiya. But I wondered whether there was a submarine canyon which in conjunction with a movement of currents or tides somehow created a channel rich in nutrients which created an unusual and exceptionally rich concentration of marine life. The Spinner Dolphins would be a top predator of this unusually focussed food chain off Kalpitiya.
A more likely answer came on March 24, 2009 as I listened to Charles explaining to Dallas Martenstyn that the latter's observations of dolphins and the occasional stray whale could be explained by the continental shelf being closer than was previously believed. He also thought that there could be whales to be seen beyond the reef. I had been circulating a graphic we had done based on British Admiralty Chart No 828 which showed that the continental shelf was far out from Kalpitiya, not close to it. Charles disagreed with my interpretation and we pulled out a bundle of admiralty charts that Dallas had in the office. I saw that the 1,000m depth contour which is my personal benchmark is not actually shown on any of the admiralty charts I had carelessly interpolated. It was easier to interpolate smoothly along where the depth was available and draw the 1,000m isocline far out from Kalpitiya than to imagine that somehow it pinched in close to the Kalpitiya Peninsula like it did at Dondra.
I studied the charts more intently and with Charles teaching me to read them, the realisation swept over me, that what I had misinterpreted as hard evidence for a wide shallow basin was no evidence at all. In fact the location of the edge of the continental shelf was wide open. There was absolutely no data available at that time to us or anyone to know conclusively where the continental shelf lay. I instinctively knew that Charles with his deep experience was onto something. I was astonished by the idea that the continental shelf could be pinching into the Kalpitiya Peninsula as it does at Dondra.
That night, long after the others had turned in, I waited in the 'ambalama' thumbing through the charts. Occasionally I stared out to sea, immersed in thought, a shiver of excitement running through me. I knew that Charles had led me onto another big stoy.
The next day, on March 25, 2009, Charles, Dallas and I went dolphin watching from Alankuda and saw around 600 Spinner Dolphins. I returned to office as there was a business to run. But I knew I had to come back to nail the story with evidence. I needed to get the whales and get the depths.
On March 24, 2009 I had realised I needed to get the whales and the depths to confirm Charles 's insight that the continental shelf was close and that explained the presence of whales straying to the dolphin line. I was elated that on February 24, 2010 I had finally found the whales.
But I decided not call or text anyone yet with the news that there was conclusive evidence that Kalpitiya could be a whale watching hotspot. In my heart, I knew I did not have all the pieces together. The depth soundings I had taken with Dallas with a fish finder effective up to 700 feet was Mickey Mouse data. It did not prove anything. Driving back, that Wednesday, I knew that the only chance for any meaningful data lay with the National Aquatic Research Agency (NARA). What followed was a remarkable series of fortuitous meetings.
The next day, on Thursday, February 25, I attended a meeting at the World Bank convened by Sumith Pilapitiya. I looked around for people who could help me in the search for the missing data. I homed in on Dr Malik Fernando, a marine biologist and asked him if there was any data available on depths off Kalpitiya and where the continental shelf may lie. Malik told me how he had swum with Arjan Rajasuriya from NARA in the area where they had thought the continental shelf plunged into a deep abyss. Dallas had also told me on the last visit that with his experience as an angler, sailor and diver, that the continental shelf was close. But visibility in water does not go beyond a hundred feet. No one can peer down to a few hundred metres and see the edge of the shelf plunging a kilometer or two deep.
So although there were clearly others who shared the Anderson theory, I only had gut feelings to go by.
I desperately needed hard data. As if reading my mind, S.A.M. Azmy, Head of the Environmental Studies Division of NARA joined us and introduced himself. I asked him whether there were any data, any recent data at all of depth soundings off the Kalpitiya Peninsula. He explained that the search for oil had resulted in the sea floor being mapped. I asked him whether it would show the 1,000m and 2,000m isoclines. He confirmed it would and in fact said that they would have that for all around the island.
On February 26, Azmy pulled out a chart which showed in remarkable detail the depth contours off the Kalpitiya Peninsula mapped for exploration of oil. There in front of me were the depth contours which showed that the continental shelf was indeed very close and that the edge of the shelf, where it rapidly plunged to 1,000 and 2,000m was parallel to the peninsula. It was the north-south axis at E 79 35 the Sperm Whales had hunted on and for which I had taken GPS readings. I could not believe how well it all fitted together. Wow!
Technically speaking the continental shelf is defined as the 200m isocline and here that was as close as 4 nautical miles. The 1,000m depth isocline which I use as a benchmark for whale watching was 9 nautical miles away. I was probably the first person from the general public to see this chart which had been published internally in October 2009. The data simply had not been available when Charles had first convinced me to re-consider my view. The data had come out seven months later and I suspected that few in marine biological circles were aware of it.
M.A. Ariyawansa, the Head of the National Hydrographic Office (NHO) introduced me to his team and to their amusement I rushed over to a pile of maps on a table and began thumbing through feverishly. Out came an untitled map simply which showed the 200, 1,000 and 2,000m depth isoclines around Sri Lanka and the outer limits of the exclusive economic zone. It showed the continental shelf pinching in three places.
Trincomalee with a submarine canyon which has been known for some time and shown in the Admiralty charts. Dondra, again shown on the Admiralty charts but its significance for whale watching unknown until Charles had explained it to me in August 2003 and only one other place - the Kalpitiya Peninsula. Sri Lanka therefore has only three places which in terms of the location of the continental shelf are positioned ideally to be whale watching hot spots because the whale and oceanic dolphins need deep water to come close in.
I had now found the conclusive evidence which connected the dots to show that Kalpitiya was one and in fact the last of the three whale watching hot spots to be recognized as such. My role once again had been to listen to scientists and to go out and do the field work and connect the dots to make a big story to bridge science with commerce.
The NHO team were helpful, courteous and genuinely interested in their work. They gave me a print-out of the Mannar depths and a custom print-out of the chart showing the continental shelf. I came out of NARA clutching the remaining evidence why Kalpitiya can be a whale watching hot spot. The chart with the continental shelf was dated January 2010. My timing had been perfect. A few weeks earlier and the chart may not have existed.
Of the three records of Orca sightings since 2008, two have been at Kalpitiya, photographed in March 2008 by Senaka Abeyratne and on January 31, 2010 by Maithri Liyanage. It is likely that Kalpitiya could rival Mirissa for the diversity of species of marine mammals. However, Mirissa may remain the top spot for watching Blue Whales because the migratory movement postulated by Charles takes them past Dondra twice. I saw no Blue Whales on the two days I was whale watching at Kalpitiya. In contrast on Wednesday February 24, Anoma Alagiyawadu, the Jetwing Lighthouse naturalist observed what he believed to be seven different Blue Whales from Mirissa.
It is too early to conclude where Trincomalee, Mirissa and Kalpitiya will rank in terms of overall species diversity, the likelihood of seeing Blue Whales and Sperm Whales, etc. But what is very clear is that we have a scientific basis for concluding that Sri Lanka has three key sites for whale watching because of the proximity of the continental shelf, the marine mammal species diversity and logistics. The three sites could result in Sri Lanka emerging as the leading whale watching destination in the world.
The appetite to go after whales from Kalpitiya and not to dally with just the dolphins will grow. Serious whale watching will now start from Kalpitiya. A trail has been blazed.
In Kalpitiya as elsewhere, legislation or guidelines will need to come in for the safety of the whales as well as the whale watchers. But legislation must be intelligent, practical and simple, to allow the whale watching industry to grow and create livelihoods. Whale watching in Sri Lanka can easily grow to be worth several billion rupees of revenue each year. Wildlife can pay its way.
(Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne is CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays. He can be found on www.jetwingeco.com, Facebook and Flickr)
Here you can read the things what Ruuk village organizes for you, in case there is no wind or you are not a Kite surfer : Things to do in Kalpitiya, when there is no wind
About Kalpitiya Sri Lanka
Placed approximately 170 km of Colombo, the Kalpitiya region is one of the most beautiful coastal areas located in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. Kalpitiya is a peninsular that seperates the Puttalam lagoon from the Indian Ocean, so you will see the blue ocean and its golden beaches on one side and a large lagoon with several unspoilt islands on the other.
Kalpitiya is also rich in historical significance. According to the Mahavansa, Prince Vijaya, the founder of the Sinhalese race first landed on the shores of Kalpitiya. Furthermore, the Dutch Fort and St Peter’s Kerk church in the town itself are interesting examples of Sri Lanka’s rich history and colonial past.
Kalpitiya is a prominent marine sanctuary home to a diversity of marine habitat. From bar reefs to saltpans, mangrove swamps, salt marshes and vast sand dune beaches are few of the things you can experience here. There are many things to do in Kalpitiya to enjoy your stay. Kalpitiya is excellent for surfing, wind surging, boat rides, snorkeling and scuba diving, whale and dolphin watching or simply relaxing and unwinding in the sun.
Kalpitiya is inherently a small fishing community and watching their lives at sea are very remarkable. Free from the hustle and bustle of city and corporate life, fishermen take to the sea in the dark nights and return in the wee hours of the morning with a fresh catch. Visit the many fish markets that offer an opportunity to choose freshly caught seafood for a scrumptious meal.
Whale & Dolphin Watching
The best time for dolphin and whale watching is the season between November to March / April. If you are lucky you may witness schools of dolphins which are very large, approximately 1,000 dolphins at once. It is truly a magnificent sight to witness these brilliant and playful creatures as they swim alongside the boat.
A high concentration of blue whales and sperm whales have also been sighted in the Kalpitiya coast. The best place to set off on a whale watching tour is from Alankuda beach.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
For keen scuba divers and snorkellers, the largest coral reef in Sri Lanka (Bar reef) is only an hour’s boat trip from Kalpitiya. This beautiful reef is home to an incredible variety of tropical fish as well as offering sighting of manta rays, reef sharks and the occasional turtle.
Best time for diving and snorkeling is between late November and early May. Due to the southwest monsoon period diving is considered dangerous and impossible during the period of May to November. You can embark on a diving trip with one of the many beachside diving shops. The underwater currents in the seas off Kalpitiya are generally not strong, but are influenced by small tide changes of two high water and two low water tides.
Leisurely boat rides up the lagoon and canoe trips down the river are a pleasant and chilled out way of exploring the coastline, whilst 4WD jeep rides along the deserted sand dunes between the ocean and the lagoon offer a thrill and unique way of watching the colourful evening sunsets.
The Kalpitiya peninsula is the perfect place for kitesurfing, with several spots for beginners as well as advanced riders. Although kite surfing is possible throughout the year in Kalpitiya, wind conditions are best between May and December. A number of kite surfing schools have been set up in Kalpitiya approximately 5-7 kilometers from Dolphin Beach with certified instructors to assist both beginners and pros. Equipment for kite-surfing is available on a rental basis. Kite surfing excursions can be tailored to your preference and skill level and can range from short speed riding on flat water to all day trips of wave riding or island hopping to explore the many desolate islands dotted around the lagoon.
Kalpitiya is still developing and still has a long way to go in the following areas.
- Public electricity coverage is still limited
- Roads are still being constructed
- Public water supply is still to be fully implemented
Ruuk Village had to find solutions to the above three obstacles, and we at Ruuk Village think that we have done pretty well finding solutions to cover the above. let me give a brief explanation as to, how we managed to find solutions to the above three obstacles.
The official road to Ruuk Village has a stretch of about 900m which is soft sand and only a 4x4 wheel can master this stretch. We decided to use our house boat to pickup our guests from the nearby fishing harbor (Thoradiya Jetty), and we managed to turn a weak point to strength. Our guests enjoys this short ride by boat to reach our village, they get a feeling of coming to and Island within an Island.
We have dug two tube wells which are connected to one water pump and we store the pumped water in to a 2000Liter water Tank on an elevated platform. This guarantees enough water pressure to the showers. Cabana's private showers allow our guest an experience of having a shower under the blue sky. This is a private shower experience just behind the Cabanas.
Since the beginning of the project (end of 2013), we have been using a Diesel generator to generate the needed electricity for a limited number of hours (18:00Hrs till 23:00hrs) per day. This was not the best solution and we started looking at all available options. And at last we decided to go for solar power. As a first step it shall only cover the needed power supply at least to a certain percentage.
Since May 2014 we have implemented the first phase of our "Ruuk Village Goes Solar" project with:
- 1 UPS unit
- 3 umbers of 80W solar panels
- Deep cycle battery (12V-150Ah)
We are in the phase of studying the solution and if all goes well we will extend the capacity with a complete off-grid backup system, which shall replace the generator almost to 98%. Until we deploy a solar driven water pump. We will still need the Diesel driven generator to fill up our water tank. With the current solution we are able to cover the power need during sunlight hours completely (no heavy household items in use). We managed to reduce the usage of the generator to 2 hours from 5 hours daily.
Here are two short vine videos of the installation work done on site.
- What is the main difference between Ruuk Village and the rest ?
- What is the concept of RuukVillage ?
- What makes RuukVillage unique in Kalpitiya ?
Ruuk Village was born out of passion to #Kalpitiya #KiteSurfing & love for #SriLanka.
We want to make #RuukVillage a place where you can find yourself surrounded by nature and find serenity during your stay.
We want to improve the "Ruuk Village" project and to provide a stable product to our growing customer base that are in search of simplicity in life.
But the sole purpose of "Ruuk Village" is not about profit, it is about a #lifestyle which founders of #RuukVillage believe in. Founders/initiators of Ruuk Village are working 100% in their own professions in Europe but both the initiators guide and coach the locale team to thrive in their personal development. This means, the practical owners of “Ruuk Village” are the ones working onsite. If the project succeeds, then the locale team benefits directly and the project initiators indirectly seeing the team improving and the project improving in quality. This makes "Ruuk Village" unique in Kalpitiya.
#Profit is not everything in a world where all aspects are measured in unhealthy profit margins.
Where establishments are yearning for "maximum profit" to increase year after year, we want to show the local population that life is not all about "maximizing profit" but about "living with balance".
We have taken up a difficult challenge where profit yearning non-Sri Lankans as well as Sri Lankans are flocking to Kalpitiya with all sorts of ideas, as to how they can make that "Golden Dollar" from the beautiful/un spoilt beaches of #MyIsland #SriLanka.
We hope that we can coach and guide locals to feel and to understand the importance of living in harmony with once surroundings. With a minimum#FootPrint.
Most of us living in the western world have had this thought at least once. We are tired of the "consumer oriented" societies we live in and we want to get to that beautiful place on earth …
But what do we do when we are there?
We forget why we left that western "consumer oriented" society … We repeat the same mistakes even in that beautiful place where we want to be, and we spoil the locale communities with the same virus we once escaped.
We infect those young un spoilt minds and hearts of Kalpitiya with unhealthy "Maximum Profit" oriented thinking. We infect locals with "horniness in consumption". Is that what we want to give to the local population of this beautiful Island?
"We want more, and we want it all for ourselves!" , This is the general attitude of most of the projects!
#RuukVillage shall do different and coach differently
- We want to get the locals to take up responsibility in providing good #quality #service at an affordable price.
- We want locals to champion in "Service Excellence".
- We want locals to understand "Guests" commitments are much more valuable than the quick profit that you make. Think different!
#Sustainability in sales and services shall walk a long way …
It's not easy …
But we are ready for that challenge …