Swimming with whales in the Dominican Republic
September 3, 2015
Swimming with two adult male, 15 metres long, Humpbacks Whales was one of the most incredible mornings of my life. This surreal experience last february was bucket list material. An experience where you find yourself thinking: is this real? Is this really happening right now? Even now I am still in whale heaven. The whole picture makes that Silver Bank is pure magic: swimming with mothers with calves, listening to a whale song, seeing flukes and breaches and watching spectacular sunsets.
The Silver Bank lies approximately 110 kilometres north of the coast of the Dominican Republic. It’s is a large limestone plateau wich is part of the sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic. It’s one of the few breeding and calving zones of the North Atlantic Humpback Whale. Every year thousands of migrating Humpbacks come to the Silver Bank. It’s estimated that between 5000 and 7000 Humpbacks pass through the sanctuary each winter.
That means that this magical place contains the largest seasonal population in the world. And it’s good it’s a sancturary, so visitors are bound to rules. The Dominican Republic is the only country in the world that issues a limited number of permits to snorkel with Humpbacks. Only three boats have a license to stay in this area. That means peace and well needed rest for the whales, wich is very important in this nursery. Consequence is that you have to book early and that prices are high. But its all worth this once in a lifetime experience. Instead of telling how amazing swimming with these gentle giants is, I will show you; here is a photostory.
And to show you how close I was to the whales: last three pictures are taken by Ben Vieyra, Jodi Frediani and Marina de Haan.