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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II (DR) :

 

Log Date: Saturday, Feb 14, 2015
Entry By: Turks & Caicos Aggressor Crew









 



Turks & Caicos Aggressor II

Captain’s Log

Feb 14 – 21 2015

 

Guests From: USA, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands

Guests: Patrick, Jeanette, Bill, Joy, Cas, Sonja, Kacie, Richard, Jill, Joe, Lesley, Craig, Susan, Gabriele, Veronika, George & Philip

Exposure Suit: 3mm Full Suit to boardshorts

 

     There is always a different feel to each place to visit. It is the food, the site and the people. Coming to the Dominican Republic is always a special time of year for us for so many different reasons, mainly the whales but there is an energy that is constant through out the entirety of the country. The welcome smile of each of the locals brings you home in some way. Our guests are welcomed to Ocean World Marina and quickly greeted by our crew. With a short walk to the yacht the thoughts build with the opportunity to swim with gentle leviathans. Everyone is settled in with a short unpacking on the dive deck and the briefings are finished just as quickly as the started. We have a midnight departure for the Silver Banks. A light mist of rain falls shortly after the sun sets. A myriad of colored lights shine through the window panes of our salon as the night heat up in the marina with the upper terrace area has local music bringing everyone to dance and feel free. The engines rev just before the stroke of midnight as the yacht heads away from low lying lights of the city on to a path a little less traveled where a selected few gets to experience one of the wonders of nature that happens every year. A small rolling swell was the only thing between Puerto Plata and the Silver Bank. We steamed through the night until the sun breached the horizon and the first lights of the bank could be seen. There we get our first glimpse of the whales. The mist of air and water combined upward. The first whales are seen in the distance. In a short period of time we can see the different behaviors of the whales. A few breach, some near to the yacht and some on the horizon. We settle deep in the bank close the barrier of coral that block the relentless open Atlantic ocean. The seas are calm inside the coral which makes it perfect the deploy of chase boats used to scout whales. As the anticipation builds, we sit down for a briefing only to be stopped by two adult whale splash and pec slapping just a hundred feet off the starboard side of the yacht. With lunch finally ending, we venture out on our first whale expedition. The smooth seas are the whale’s playground. There are flukes rising out from the sea and crashing back down creating a large burst of water from around the sea creature. Continually rising up and splashing down to the water again. As the begins to fall into the sea, two adults whales swirl back and forth in the water. Bodies turning, one lifts it’s massive head from the water. Our guests quietly enter the water and are able to witness two adults in a romantic dance with each other. The whales move together as the male would touch the point of it’s chin to the female’s. Together the whales move off into the blue.

 

   The next morning we have our first sunrise on the bank. The wreck of the Polyxeni is fire with the auburn and crimson light of the early morning. We are excited to get back for our first full day with the whales. The morning was filled with beautiful topside delights. Many of the whales took their long white pectoral fins and slapped them down on to the surface creating a loud thump. Each time they hit the surface the pec would turn a brighter pink color. There were four rowdy males vying to the affections of a female. Each whales would swim as close as they could to the female for attention. One big dominate male would chase after the smaller males and launch it’s tail out of the water in an attempt to hit the oncoming males away. We kept up with this high energy group for over a hour watching them form a line with one chasing the other. We were able to get with ten feet of the line of massive bodies. We could hear the whale take breath every time it ascended. After 30 minutes of action, one of the challenger male burst into the air and gracefully turns with pecs a flare. The incredible feat had the sea going mammal clear all but it’s tail out of the water on second consecutive breaches. We have a quick break for lunch then back out on the water. The light is turning a golden color on the small waves and we have a mother and calf basking just below the surface. The calf likes to circle around the mother just at her nose. The little grey calf rolls on top of the mother then out ahead of her. We have our eager swimmers head out towards the two whales. As the whales pass by, the calf is peering out as our guests next to the mother as they pass by just feet below our guests. With a short move we are in the water again and this time the mother has her tail right in from of the guests.

 

The winds die down and we have beautiful sunny weather. Little bumps of waves flow throughout the bank. The sun shines over the random coral heads and we see a glistening different from the other coral heads. It is a mother and calf floating at the surface and the sun is shining off their velvet black skin. We ease closer and time her breath cycles. When the appropriate time arrives, we deploy our guide to see if this magnificent creature will allow us to observe her in-water. She graciously agrees and our guests slip into the sea like ninjas into the night. The baby is very curious as he/she approaches us with caution; giving the guests a fly-by and tail swoosh. The encounter leaves the guests with beautiful images of mother and calf gently nuzzling each other and an intelligent glance as if to say “thank you for visiting us”. The ride back to the mother ship is led by a calf repeatedly breaching over thirty times (we call this a pickle breach because the baby’s rostrum looks like a pickle when it clears the water). The sun sets with a beautiful crimson and orange glow as another fantastic week of Humpbacks in the Silver Bank comes to an end.