A Whale of a Time

Swimming with Humpback Whales in their natural habitat at Silverbank (Dominican Republic)
Swimming with Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in their natural habitat at Silverbank (Dominican Republic). In front is the mother with her calf above (not visible). In the background behind her is the male escort.

Swimming with Humpback Whales at the Silver Bank

Watching whales from a boat on the surface is already a great experience but this is nothing compared to the gentle encounters under water. Close encounters "eye-to-eye" with humpback whales in their natural environment at the Silver Bank is unlike any other privilege in your lifetime. You slip into the water, time stands still for a while, you hold your breath. Not only that you marvel these giant sea mammals with great admiration but these magnificent animals observe you carefully and, despite their enormous size, are so cautious towards us that nobody will be hurt.

 It is very difficult to trigger the camera.

The Silver Bank Sanctuary for Marine Mammals

Carribbean Sea from above the winter habitat for humpback whales
Carribbean Sea from above the winter habitat for humpback whales
Wrecked freighter "Polyxeni" at the Silver Bank Sanctuary for Marine Mammals in Dominican Republic
Wrecked freighter "Polyxeni" at the Silver Bank Sanctuary for Marine Mammals in Dominican Republic

The Silver Bank (Banco de la Plata) is a breeding and calving area for humpback whales. Since 1996 it is declared as a Sanctuary for Marine Mammals (sp: Santuario de Mamíferos Marinos) for the protection of the cetaceans. Situated in the Caribbean Sea between the Turks & Caicos Islands and the Dominican Republic the Silver Bank is shallow and not suitable for large ships for the passage of the area, like the freighter "Polyxeni " which wrecked on a Coral Reef in 1965.

It is hard to imagine that this is the breeding ground of thousands of humpback whales every year.
At a first glance, a mystical abandoned place in the  Atlantic Ocean.

 

Diving with humpback whales
The moment before dive with humpback whales.
Giant sea mammal
Approaching the giant sea mammal


Female humpback with her newborn on the top assisting to breathe. The male humpback whale escorts the couple from a distance.
Female humpback with her newborn on the top assisting to breathe. The male humpback whale escorts the couple from a distance.