Turks & Caicos Aggressor II
26th of March – 2nd of April 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: TROY SANDY
Driver/Guide: MATT CRAWFORD
Peggy, Jared, Carla, Mabella, Steve, Thomas, Dominic, Daniela, Jussi, Ma Li, Renalto, Teresa, Ishida, Mariana, Prem, Ralf, Rosemary, Barry
Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
As the guests begin to board, the crew is excited to get out to the Silver Bank for one last week of swimming with whales! Once everyone was on board, the crew helped people organize gear into their lockers for the week and showed everyone to their rooms for the week. Once settled, the last whale safety briefing was given before an amazing dinner prepared by Ailsa was served.
Early Sunday morning, the boat pushed off the dock and the long, 9 hour trek to the banks started. With about 1.5 hours of traveling to go until we reached the mooring, we entered the south side of the banks and whales were spotted all around. People were treated to pec slapping and breaching as the whales welcomed us to their home. Once the boat reached the mooring and the engines were turned off, the two tenders that would be our whale watching platforms for the week were lowered in the water and prepped for the week to come. Again, everyone dined on one of Ailsa’s amazing creations before retiring to the rooms to rest of and recover from the long crossing.
As the sun broke on the first full day at the banks, everyone was up early and prepped to go as soon as the clock hit 8:30 am. Once on the water, the tracking began. Everyone was on the lookout for the tell tale blow or breach of the whale. The bank is a large place so the tenders headed off in opposite directions to cover more ground but always keep radio contact to share any encounters with eachother. After a bit of searching, people were ready to get in the water so we did a trial run to practice the entry and approach to whales. The last thing you want to do is surprise a 35 ton animal!!! Once back on the tenders, people were starting to get hungry so fruit was passed out as we made our way back to the main vessel for lunch.
As we headed back out for the afternoon, something was spotted on the horizon and we made our way to it. As the boat approached, we noticed several blows and found ourselves in the middle of a rowdy group! This is a group of males viying for the escort position of the lead female. The males will try to push the others out of the way and be the closest to the female. As whales tire out, they peel off and swim away to hopefully find another female. This group was slow moving and swimming around coral heads but allowed us to watch them and even showed off alittle by lifting their tales for us to see. As the sun began to set, we made our way back to the boat.
The rest of the week had many more amazing encounters. There were more rowdy groups, the start of a valentine, swimming mothers and calves, we even happened across a singer. Matt and Troy saw a whale sitting on the surface taking long slow breathes then it slowly descended. Matt got his fins on and was ready to jump in as the boat slowly approached. Once we were over where the whale dropped, a deep rumbling sound emanated through the boat. You could hear the singing even above water!!! Matt quickly jumped in to locate the exact position of the whale as Troy helped all the guests get ready to slide in. Once in the water, people were amazed at how loud the song really was. That sound can travel for miles and miles. The amazing thing is all the whales sing the same song and they produce the noise by moving air around the cavities in their head! Once the song was finished, everyone got back on the boat as we searched for more whales to observe.
As the week came to a close and the season ended, we all were sad to leave the banks for the last time but we are ready to come back next year and swim with these magnificent creatures again. Matt’s video and Amanda’s photo slideshow was the perfect recap to the amazing last week of the 2016 whale watching tours. We hope to see all of you again, either snorkeling with whales or diving back in Turks and Caicos!!