Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
30 January – 6 Feburary 2016
Air temperature: 78° - 82°
Water temperature: 78° - 79°
Visibility: 30 - 80 feet
Captain: AMANDA SMITH
Engineer: ROB SMITH
Chef: MATT CRAWFORD
Driver/Guide: GRANT PATTEN
Video Pro: TROY SANDY
Pam, Mark, John, Beth, Annie, Dee, Andy, Eddie, Caryl, Jim, Keith, Diane, Andrea, Bert, Florence, Noelle, Vanessa, Bobby
Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
With our guests on board we make introductions and get everyone acquainted with each other and the layout and wonderful features of the boat. After a superb first dinner prepared by our Chef Matt, all of our guests head to bed and then we set off for an overnight crossing to the Silver Bank so we can arrive rested, refreshed and ready for some amazing encounters with the humpback whales.
We have a fantastic week, every day is started with a hearty breakfast, continental and a cooked one by our Chef Matt. We have a great 1st day, heading out in our 2 whale viewing boats we split up to cover a greater area, throughout the week we had numerous encounters with the whales, traveling with them at the surface and also amazing encounters with them in the water.
Traveling with the whales along the surface is a great feeling, the raw majesty of Humpbacks effortlessly gliding along next to our boat, sometimes we have males moving through the area or occasionally a mother and calf and these more often than not have a male escort. Traveling with them moves to a whole new level when they slow so we can glide along with them and be ready for an almighty show, this could be pec’ slapping, tail slapping, a tail lob or even the awesome spectacle of a breach. The times where the excitement of being so close draws to a hushed silence is when we are close and the whales slow to a stop and drop below the waves, sometimes with a gentle flick of the tail, to have a sleep. The adult humpback whale can stay underwater for approximately 25 minutes between breaths whilst sleeping; a new born calf for about 2 and a half minutes.
During the week we had a number of in-water encounters with some ‘sleeping’ Whales, the feeling of being in the water so close to these beautiful creatures is sublime yet humbling at the same time. A few of the encounters we had included, a pair of males that we travelled with on the surface for hour, who stopped for a 25 minutes sleep whilst we waited for them, they woke and both breached 30 feet from the boat and glided along with us for another 10 minutes before dropping down for another sleep right next to us, at this point our guide slid into the water and checked the whales, called the group in, ensuing in an excited yet very quiet entry for everyone into the water, we formed a line from the pec to the rostrum looking down at these leviathans as the dozed. After a good time observing these 2 males they awoke, flexed their pecs and proceeded to swim up and under us to then circle and give us another swim by, directly underneath us whilst observing us back.
At another point we were very close to an in water encounter with 4 mothers and calves all in the same area, all mothers and calves had settled down and were comfortable with us being near them but just as we were about to enter the water all 4 mothers and calves became agitated and then simultaneously swam off in separate directions, leaving us slightly confused as to what had happened until a minute or so later a group of rowdy males came barrelling through the area just vacated by the mothers, explaining everything!
We had encounters with mothers and calves, these can normally be ascertained to be a likely in water encounter when the calf is repeatedly surfacing in a small crescent formation above the resting mothers rostrum, in these instances when the mother is calm we are able to enter the water and observe the magical interaction between the mother and calf as the mother rests and the calf leaves the protective embrace of its mother to take breaths and occasionally take small adventures, like coming over to have a close look at the small creatures all formed in a line to the side of its mother. The mother is aware at all time of the calf and the exact whereabouts, should the calf stray too far then the mother will recall them with a sharp tail lob and the calf will immediately scamper back to its mother.
One of the other truly outstanding in water encounters we had this week was with a Singer, we found this male nose down on the sea bed, waxing lyrical, we stayed for the whole song watching and listening and amazingly managed to not only get a visual recording but a clear audio as well.
We have had a thoroughly enjoyable week, great company, excellent food, beautiful surroundings and the company of some of the most wondrous creatures in the world, that we have been privileged to share time with the humpback whales!