Turks & Caicos Aggressor II Captain’s Log
February 3 – February 10 2018
Air temperature: 75° - 78° F
Water temperature: 78° - 80°F
Visibility: 40 - 80 feet
Thermal recommendation: 3mm/5mm full wetsuit & a windbreaker
Captain: Amanda Smith
2nd Captain: Christy Weaver
Engineer: Alex Brett
Chef: Brynne Rardin
Chef: Sarah Pearson
Photo Pro: Conor
Fulvia & Sandra, Ansgar & Alex, Mike & Cynthia, Julie & George, Anne, Eva, Kay,
Sze Wei & Jay, Ned & Lisa, Ronny & Candice, Reema
Our Snorkel Site
Sunday – Friday: Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
Our week started off as usual at Ocean World Marina where we greeted our newest group of guests with a delicious dinner from our chefs, Sarah and Brynne, before we made our departure at midnight to make the 9 hour steam out to the Silver Bank. Upon arriving Sunday morning, we dropped the chase boats, and after a briefing from Captain Amanda on whale watching operations and another great lunch, we set out to see what the whales had in store for us this week.
Our first two days were full of every flavor of surface activity to the point where sometimes it seemed like every single whale on the bank was up at the surface playing around! We had whales slapping their pectoral fins and breaching around the boat almost all day long. One of the wonderful thing about trips to the Silver Bank is that every week is different, we never quite know what sorts of encounters we will have when we make the long trek offshore. This charter was definitely one for great surface encounters.
Partway through the trip, one of the chase boats encountered a pair of whales circling each other (and the boat!) in the dance we call a valentine. This is thought to be a precursor to mating, but given that so little is still known about humpback mating, this is just an educated guess! During this dance they were displaying at the surface with slaps of their pectorals and waving their tails, and circling under the boat. There was even a moment when they settled long enough for some brave swimmers to get a look at them in the water. As they swooped and swirled around and underneath the boat for over an hour, they led us further and further down wind till we had to say goodbye to make it back to the boat in time for cocktail hour.
As a wonderful grand finale, with the sun was setting on our final day on the bank we found a pair of very cooperative sleeping whales, one male and one female. They stayed down for many cycles in a row, allowing all of the guests a chance to float in the water above them as they dozed and get an up close and personal look as these gentle giants came up to breathe. One of the two surprised us all by surfacing tail first every time, an unusual behavior for sure! After the whale watching wound down for the day, our guests relaxed on the sundeck with another round of specialty cocktails from the crew.
Friday morning we made our departure from the Silver Bank and had a lovely whale show as cruised off the bank back towards Puerto Plata. After leaving the sheltered waters of the Bank, we even had a pod of bottlenose dolphins ride along our bow wave for a short period. After making landfall back at Ocean World Marina, we bid fairwell to another great group of guests with our Aggressor Fleet tradition of the wine and cheese party on the sundeck.
Thanks for another great week of whale watching on the Silver Bank!