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Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Captain’s Log
January 19 – 26, 2019
Air temperature: 75° - 78° F
Water temperature: 80°F
Visibility: 40 - 80 feet
Thermal recommendation: 3mm/5mm full wetsuit & a windbreaker
Captain: Amanda Smith
Engineer: Rob Smith
Chef: Chace Gaudreau
Video Pro: Sarah Pearson
Photo Pro: Ben Phillips
Whale Guide: Ellen Myers
Kala, Rich, Paul, Kary, Amy, Dave, Bob, Jennifer, Alessa, George, Virginia, Brent, Gerard, Frederike, Quinn
Our Snorkel Site
Sunday – Friday: Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
Our excited guests arrived at Ocean World Marina on Saturday afternoon where they were greeted by our equally excited crew. After unloading snorkeling gear and wetsuits, they enjoyed cocktails on the sundeck followed by a lovely dinner from our very own Chef. We set out at midnight to make the 9 hour steam out to the Silver Bank, and by 9 am Captain Amanda was negotiating coral heads along the bank as the guests spotted a few whale blows from the sundeck! As we approached our mooring we were treated to bottlenose dolphins at the bow and whales breeching close by. Not a bad start. After dropping in the chase boats, and listening to a briefing from Captain Amanda we loaded the guests into the chase boats and set off looking for whales.
In just the first few days of our charter, we encountered numerous whale behaviors on the surface and underwater. One boat got lucky enough to swim with a male singer. Each year the male humpbacks sing the same song, and we were the first to hear the whale song for 2019! The song vibrates through your whole body awakening all of your senses leaving our snorkelers with goosebumps as we came back to the boat.
We spotted several mother and calf pairs swimming along the surface as the little baby enthusiastically did semi circles around its mother while slapping its tail and checking out our boat by poking its little (compared to its mother) head just above the surface. We even spotted a mother with a calf who was still very grey colored, meaning it is very new to this world, so we kept our distance to give the new mother ease of mind as the onlookers ‘oohhhed and ahhhed.’ One afternoon we spotted some fast moving action ahead and encountered a rowdy group, or a group of male whales chasing a female humpback fighting for her attention. We often witness this behavior early in the season as the whales are beginning to mate. The female, who happened to be a mother to a newborn calf, put her calf on her back and slipstreamed away as the males followed close behind. The male escort and challenger whales came right up to the boat making for some exciting surface action. As the sun began to set, the action continued back at the boat for cocktail whales on the sundeck. This week, our photo pro Ben, took the trophy for best specialty crew cocktail with his fresh local passionfruit concoction. Each evening we were treated to a gorgeous sunset with whales breaching just off the horizon. Some guests even witnessed the ubiquitous green flash after one sunset while soaking in the sundeck hot tub.
Towards the middle of the week, the wind began picking up one afternoon, which made for some wet and wild whale watching on the chase boats. However, foul weather doesn’t stop the whale encounters. A tough swim in the wind and waves was rewarded with an underwater view of two sleeping whales. When they awoke, this group of snorkelers found themselves with a front row seat for a whale breach, all of which our video pro caught on camera!
Unfortunately, due to high winds, we were not able to go out Wednesday or Thursday morning but we still spotted whales from the sundeck and enjoyed underwater documentaries in the salon. Guests and crew shared their photos and videos with one another while our Chef treated us to sweet and salty culinary delights of every variety.
Friday morning just before we headed off, two male whales swam directly behind the stern to wave us goodbye with the fantastic tail action. Overall, it was an amazing first week here in Dominican Republic with unforgettable experiences all around. The only thing that could possibly top the whale action was our incredible guests aboard this week. Can’t wait to see what next week brings!