SILVER BANKS / HUMPBACK WHALES
JANUARY TO APRIL
Located a little north of the Dominican Republic and about the same distance from the Turks and Caicos Islands. Silver Banks is one of the frequent breeding and calving zones for humpback whales.
During the winter months, an uncontrollable desire to migrate south overcomes the Humpback Whales. Why they migrate and their exact migration route is unknown, but we do know they travel to numerous mating and calving areas in the Antilles.
One of the highlights of your adventure will be when you have the opportunity to slip into the water to experience a soft- in – water encounter with these magnificent mammals.
A soft-in-water encounter is not scuba diving, nor is it aggressive swimming or free diving. It is passive, non-aggressive floating at the surface, with a mask, fins, and snorkel, allowing the whale to develop an interest in humans. It is finding a cooperative, tolerant and/or curious whale and meeting that whale in the water, calmly and peacefully, permitting a rare and treasured encounter between human and cetacean.
Humpback whales migrate to the Dominican Republic from the months of December until mid-April.
DAY 1: Fly to Puerto Plata. Embark on the MV Turks and Caicos Explorer II
Fly to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic to arrive by midafternoon for transfer to the dock. You will have the opportunity to board after 4:00 p.m. on the day of departure. If you arrive earlier, you may drop off your luggage and gear at the ship while the crew is making preparations, leaving you free to tour the area until boarding time. Arrive at the ship by 7:00 p.m. to enjoy dinner onboard. We will depart in the late evening and head for the Silver Bank.
DAY 2: Arrive on the Silver Bank
We will arrive at our mooring on the Silver Bank midmorning. We are likely to see whales from the ship’s deck early this morning while en route to our anchorage. After arrival, we will be briefed about softinwater encounters, a profoundly new experience for all! The ship will remain anchored here while we go in search of whales each day in our two tenders – maneuverable and fast 25foot boats.
DAY 3-5: Experience the whales in their world
We will be nestled in the northeast corner of the Silver Bank, a shallow area protected by coral heads and host to the numerous female Humpback Whales that have chosen the Silver Bank as their nursery for their newborn calves. The entire Silver Bank is thick with coral heads, but the northeast corner has extensive coral that breaks the surface during low tides, giving protection to newborn calves.The only point of reference is a rusting shipwreck, gradually melting into the edge of the barrier reef.
Each day at 8:30 a.m., the tenders depart the mooring area fully stocked and prepared for a day of whale observations both above and below water. Activity on the Silver Bank runs in cycles. Every day there is a slack period and these periods will vary from day to day. Typically the tenders return to the ship every day around 12:30 p.m. for lunch. If we are experiencing extraordinary activity, we may eat our lunch on the tenders since we carry plenty of sandwiches and other food. If we return to the ship for lunch, we go back out in the tenders at about 2:00 p.m. for the afternoon action, so we don’t miss any opportunity to intermingle with the gentle giants. We plan to return to the ship each evening around 6:00 p.m.
There could be some “whale waiting” while we look for cooperative Humpback Whales
DAY 6: Morning whale watching! cruise the Silver Bank before returning to Puerto Plata
We will spend the morning out on the tenders then return to the ship for lunch. Our ship will raise anchor and we will sail through the banks, watching for more whale activity from the decks of our ship. We will be sad to depart this wonderful place and return to Puerto Plata in the afternoon. We will arrive at the dock in Puerto Plata in the late evening for our last night onboard.
DAY 7: Disembark the M/V Turks and Caicos Explorer II
We will leave our cabins by 9:00 a.m. after a continental breakfast onboard. If your flight departs late in the day, you will have time for a short trip via taxi and tram (not included in the trip cost) up the hill behind Puerto Plata for a scenic view, if the skies are clear. Otherwise, you may stay on the top deck with your baggage and a transfer to the airport will be provided.
- Apr. 01-08/17
- Jan. 20-27/18, Jan. 27-Feb .03/18
- Feb. 03-10/18
- Mar. 24-31/18, Mar. 31-Apr. 07/18
- Apr. 07-14/18
- $3,496 USD per person
- $3,695 USD per person
- $3,895 USD per person
All staterooms are double occupancy, based on your choice of stateroom
What is Included:
- Six days and seven nights onboard the ship
- All activities
- All meals (except Friday night), snacks throughout the day and evening, all coffee, tea, juices, and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Premium liquor is not provided, but if you have a favorite, please feel free to bring it with you.
- Linens, towels, shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap are all available and included.
What is not Included:
- Airfare to and from your terminal port
- Tourist arrival cards (a tourist card can be purchased in Puerto Plata for $10.00 (cash)
- Transfers to and from the ship or to and from hotels, land tours or bus stations, excess baggage charges, departure taxes at airport
- Cruising, port & sanctuary fees $300 USD
- Friday night dinner (unless on an extended week)
- Equipment rental
- Vacation videos
- Sundries and gratuities (15%-20%) for guides and crew
- Fuel Surcharge $300.00 USD per person payable on board. CASH ONLY
DEPOSITS AND REFUNDS
Verbal, faxed or written reservations will be held for 7 days. A $1,000.00 non-refundable deposit per person is required within 7 days to confirm a reservation. Your application and liability release forms are also required along with your deposit. Please ask for all of the necessary forms, as well as our information packets.
Payment in full is required 90 days prior to your “Whales of the Silver Bank” expedition. Trip cancellation insurance is suggested. All rates and conditions are subject to change. If payments are not received at the designated times we reserve the right to cancel your reservation, with forfeiture of all monies to date. All payments are non-refundable.