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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
27th February - 5th March 2016
Air temperature: 78° - 82°
Water temperature: 78° - 79°
Visibility: 30 - 80 feet
Captain: AMANDA SMITH
2nd Captain: TODD EMMONS
Engineer: ROB SMITH
Chef: ALISA KELLY
Driver/Guide: GRANT PATTEN
Driver/Guide: MATT CRAWFORD
Gene, Judy, Anna, Michelle, Talia, Michal, Laurie, Laurie, Andy, Bob, Lisa, Gail, Mike, Bob, Antonio, Johan, Vanessa
Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
With the Vessel Ship shape and ready our guests arrive, it is a beautiful day in the Dominican Republic and we gather our guests up on the sundeck for snacks, drinks and getting to know each other, we then proceed with the ships briefings and make official introductions. Alisa then provides the first of an amazing array of meals that unbelievably just keep getting better all week! After dinne3r we settle everyone down and then at midnight we head off to the Silver Banks, It’s time to go see the Whales!
It’s a windy morning as we get to the mooring in the banks, we can see Whales in the water and the excitement builds on the boat. Once we get the tender boats into the water we have a truly outstanding week with the Whales, long in water encounters every day as well as heart racing surface encounters with Rowdy Groups!
We have a through selection of all the types of encounter you could hope for or possibly expect here in the Silver Banks, here are a pick of the encounters:
The Rowdy group can be a fun encounter, my most memorable this week started as something completely different, we start off with a mother and calf that we enter the water with, unexpectedly they move off quite quickly from us, being on the tender I spot their direction and gather everybody on board and follow after them. As we get close again we spot more whale activity following the mother and calf, 2 adult males, then from the south we see another group of 3 whales making a bee line for our mother and calf, excited now that we appear to have 5 whales coming in to join our mother we spot 2 more coming in from the West! With 7 Males now in attendance our mother sets off with her calf and the males erupt in the chase, with us moving through the middle of the action! An exhilarating journey follows with bubble blowing, Tail slapping and lobbing, breaches, the males trying every dastardly trick to knock their competitors out of the running including breaking breath cycles, We have a series of Pec slapping as well from the mother with the calf milling on the surface in front of her head, at one point the mother moves a bit closer to the boat and the Pec slap results in a soaking for everyone on board!
We had one of the most intense valentine encounters any of the crew has ever witnessed. During a cold and rainy afternoon, both tenders spent as long as the guests could stand the temperatures in the water with a valentine pair that made sure each snorkeler got personal time within a few feet of both whales. The female was more cogent than many valentine encounters; her eyes were actively and visibly tracking the snorkelers. We spent until late in the afternoon with the pair swirling, twisting, and performing ballet around each guest. Minds were blown.
One of the most memorable experiences of the week was when we were fortunate enough to spend an entire morning with a mother and her calf. We tracked the two whales for about 20 minutes before she settled down next to a coral head, allowing us the opportunity to hop in the water with her. As we swam towards them, the mother was laying on her back, upside down, as the calf playfully circled her. The calf was extremely curious about us all, and would repeat a pattern of hiding under mom for as minute, and then shoot up to the surface and thrust his tail toward us all! It was absolutely incredible to be in such close proximity with this new-born, and the mother was extremely comfortable sharing him with us! We played in the water with these two all morning8!
An audio extravaganza is had with a Singer. Predator had several chances to observe the lone male, head down at 50’, sending out his mournful tune to the ocean. Other singers were audible in the distance, but the one the guests were above was powerful enough to rattle their organs. Conqueror showed up late to the party, but got a chance to hear the singer from close quarters.
We spend a chilled afternoon with a couple of sleepers, spotting a couple of whales with a good 20 minutes interval between breaths is always good, with these guys we get to hang out with them for several cycles as they rise to the surface and then drop back down again with minimal movement, making for an enthralling afternoon.
All in all a truly magnificent week, everyone had a great time with the whales and good fun was had! We hope to see you all again soon!