Log Date: Saturday, Jan 31, 2015
Entry By: Turks & Caicos Aggressor Crew
Air Temperature: 79°F
Water Temperature: 79°F
Visibility: 50-60 feet
Captain: AMANDA SMITH
Engineer: ROBERT SMITH
Chef: AILSA KELLY
Driver/Guide: KELLY CURRINGTON
Driver/Guide: JUAN GUTIERREZ
Driver/Guide: SHEA MARKWELL
GUESTS: Kenneth, Frances, Gwendolyn, Vivien, Gisela, Willy, Felicitas, Wilhelm, Sylvia, Matthais, Cari, Larry, David, Mary, James, Nicki, Ian, and Rebecca
Location: We find ourselves in the Dominican Republic for the second week of swimming with Humpback Whales. We are at the Ocean World Marina when the new guests arrive and join the boat. After the guests get settled on the dive deck and in their cabins, Captain Amanda holds a safety briefing so make everyone familiar with the boat and what the week has to offer. This group is a lively group and stay up until midnight when we leave the docks for our 9 hour cruise to the Silver Banks to experience first hand the humpback whales in the wild.
Once we reach the Silver Banks the action begins in earnest. The crew go to work preparing the tenders for the week, by taking them off of the main vessel, installing the bimini tops, and getting them loaded up with snacks, water, and equipment to help in the search for the majestic Humpback Whale. While this is occurring, Captain Amanda prepares the guests with the knowledge of the area, and a little about the whales to help in the search and the forthcoming encounters. After lunch the guests load into the tenders excited about the adventure they are about to embark on.
The search through the week was to be rewarded over and over again. Right off the bat one of the tenders had the rare opportunity to get into the water with a singing male. While they floated above the melodic giant they were impressed with the song, a song that is sung by all male members of the humpback population, and that over the course of 7 years changes to become a totally different song. The encounter was so amazing that the second boat was called in to have the experience. During this encounter the whale surfaced briefly allowing the snorkellers to see it before settling back into its song. This rare experience would prove to be abundant this week with a few more encounters allowing the guests to hear the song and even get some great recording of the song.
With both boats out on the water, Chef Ailsa was aboard the main vessel preparing one amazing meal after another. Amazing curries, succulent pork dishes, super Spanish food, but the favourite of this week and to be honest most weeks is the Chef’s award winning homemade ice cream. One meal even including 2 different versions, a luscious chocolate and a fresh coconut ice cream.
The encounters continued through the week with great experience with the whales including rowdy groups some including over 5 challengers. These are fun to experience while you cruise along at speed with a female being chased by an escort, who is being given the challenge to keep the affection of the female. The challengers will bump and blow bubble curtains in order to win over the female in the hopes of eventually mating with her. One by one the challengers or the escort will fall away leaving only one escort.
The encounters culminated on the final day with one whale in the morning giving a lively show for almost an hour, breaching over and over and over again with a calf following in suit to learn to be a whale. Class was in as they jumped; tail slapped over 30 times, and did a few tail lobs just to add a little finesse. There was even some spy hopping added in just to make the experience to be an awesome show by both calf and mother.
That afternoon both boats were able to flip flop between groups with a mother calf and an escort that were amazingly laid back. The mother and calf would swim around the swimmers sometimes heading straight toward them in order to give them the view from the front of the mammal, and then turn away as if happy with what they saw. After a couple hours of this experience the group of humpbacks awoke and proceeded to give a show topside for another hour or so.
Overall it was an amazing week of humpback whale encounters and sightings. The guests and crew alike left inspired by these amazing mammals. Only 2 weeks into the season and there have already been so many wonderful experiences. As we leave the banks at first light on Friday we even had to “Brake for Whales”, as 2 passed in front of the boat. All the way back the boat was filled with stories, pictures and videos of the week.