Turks & Caicos Aggressor
Feb 21 – 28, 2015
Silver Banks, Dominican Republic
Guests from: Austria & Germany
Guests: Andreas, Gabriele, Deborah, Claudia, Ingolf, Michael, Ute, Thomas, Harry, Nikola, Claudia, Urke, Johann, Elfriede, Gerald, Elke, Johannes & Reinhold
Crew: Lowel, Shea, Ailsa, Kelly, Juan, Eva
Exposure Suits: 3mm fullsuit
The energy is high and the anticipation builds as the yacht departs early in the morning. The winds and seas are on our side. Rolling waters making the yacht rise up then slow roll down the back of the waves. The sun is high and the waters are blue. Just outside of Ocean world marina we get our first view of a whale. The mist from the blow hole of the whale streams upward as the whales takes a breath. Coming into the Silver Bank, the waves are almost bumps and the towering coral heads raise from the deep. Just as the yacht settle on the mooring, two adults whales greet us as they slowly surface within 30 feet of the yacht and one lifts its massive tail out of the water. The tenders are lowered down to the water and we enjoy a cocktail hour with the sun setting.
We set out first thing in the morning on our search for whales. Quickly both tenders come across some really energetic whales. Mother and calf Humpbacks linger in the coral areas for protection away for the feisty males. We follow behind the whales and watch as the calves lift their tails and splash them down continuously then a pectoral fins rises from the blue waters and splashes down. The whales go out to deeper water. There we have more adults whales leaping out of the sea in breath taking feats. Their breaches bring a moment of heart stopping awe. The whales come out of the water over 25 feet then the 30 tons of whales hit their apex of the breach and crash down into the ocean leaving an enormous spray of salt water and foamy bubbles. We have a Rowdy group of whales charging through the bank. Five male whales vie for the affections a single female. The male race to get close to the female while trying to keep the other suitors at a distance. This fast paced chase has the whales blowing bubbles and launching their tails in the air as a warning sign to all the rest. The afternoon is more settled as we have an unusual sighting. The tail or fluke of a single whales rise out of the water for a minute then drops back down then rises again. The whale that is attached to the tail is sleeping and doing so upside down. One of our tenders watches the behavior for some time then everyone slowly slips into the water to get their first view of a humpback whale through their mask. The whale sits vertical for some time then waking up moves off away from our group. The guests were excited to see the whale. Late in the afternoon, we have a mother and calf resting, as the sun sets we slide into the water for a short period of time with the whales. We finish our day in water with the whales.
The following morning we set out. Mother and calf whales are everywhere and each tender begins their tracking. Male escort whales seem to be attached to the mother and calves. We tracking the mother and calf for some time as the calf frolics above water and the mother keep moving. As we bid farewell to the mother and calf we have two sub adult whales swimming together as the surface. The whales show interest in our chase boat and begin to swim in circles around it. Over and over again just below the surface the whales come from behind the tender then move to the front. With the whale just under us the guests slide over the side to take a look at the whales then we get into the water and the whales continue to come up then fade into the blue. At one point the guests were able to hear one of the whales sing. A loud and never forgetting experience, the singer chants a mysterious song from the deep. This goes on for over a hour as the whales follow us to the yacht. We have a quick lunch then its back on the bank. Our afternoon was amazing. One tender was able to be in the water with a mother and calf the rest of the afternoon. The mother descended below and the guests snorkel right in front of the whale. The calf keeps coming up and flickers its tail in front of the guests a few feet ahead. Each guest was able to get their own personal encounter with the small whale then mother come up for a breath and she sits on the surface like a log. The baby calf rolls on the nose of the mother lifting its tail and pecs out of the water. At the ending of the encounter another single whale swims deep below the mother and calf. It is another singer. You barely make out the image of the white pectoral fins but as the whale sings, the whales song physically vibrates the surround water and our guests actually feel the song of the whale through vibration.
One the other tender, two adult whales were stopped and with a keen eye the guide slides into the water to what we like to call a valentine. A so thought courting dance of whales the valentine has each whale slow and rhythmically moving in unison. The whales open their pecs then rotate slowly in the water. The male whale rubs its nose on the tip of the female. One of the whale slowly turns to our guests and stares at them for a few minutes then slowly lifts its nose completely out of the water vertically then falls back down to pay attention to the female.
We have some great topside encounter for the morning with breaching near the tenders. Big plumes of waters froth the surface as the water. Rocking on their side the male whales smack the water to get the attention of the females. The females reciprocate by pounding their massive flukes out of the water then have them come crashing down again. A few whales peek above the surface slowly and we are ready to slide n the water. One of the whales rests calmly under the water while the other whales turns slowly next to the nose of the other. We are in the water with the whales right under us. Some of us dive down slightly to come face to face with the whales. They remain motionless not paying attention to the minute creature so wide eyed. The whales move on without a care and we watch their wide flukes skim the water and disappear in the visibility.
After lunch we head out again to find a fluke out of the water. Another set of whales are sleeping again. This time one of the whales keeps its entire tail out of the water like a radar tower. Again we kick towards the whales as the one whale is inverted. As few minutes later the whales begin to circle us and the tender. The two whales in unison swim around and around us. Quite a view! The after sun is lowering and a very rare sighting comes swimming along the tender. A small 4 to 5 foot manta ray passes by. The entire boat is in the water in a few short seconds the small winged pelagic cruises on by.
I hope everyone gets a chance as some point of time in their life to come face to face with such majestic creatures in their natural environment. Plan your trip soon and spend some time with true wonder of life.