Our Experience with the Humpback Whales

Silver Bank, Dominican Republic
(Feb 3-10, 2001)

whale drawing

Please click on the pictures to view the larger image (if available)

"Being in the water anywhere in the vicinity of a singing Humpback Whale is like no other experience on earth. ... It is an opportunity to learn patience and to relinquish the frantic pace of the office for the unpressured rhythms of nature. It is an opportunity to make new friends, to experience the majesty, power and contrariness of nature..." "Silver Bank hosts the highest concentration of Humpback Whales in the world. It is also 100 miles from the nearest land." - excerpt from "Whale Song", written by Doug Perrine in Skin Diver Magazine (June 2000)


The Daily Schedule

* Breakfast
* 8-12:30 Morning on the Knife or the Duck
* Lunch
* 2-5:30 Afternoon on the Knife or the Duck
* Snack on Erika's Yummy! Soup
* 7:00 Dinner
* Presentation/ Slide show
* Bed time!

The Bottom Time II Crew:

Captain Roger, 2nd Captain Wade, Erika, Derrek, Shirley, and Brennen
(and don't forget Tiki & Ubie!)

The Passenger List:

Heather, Leslie, Gale, Paula, Deb & Bob, Mary Sue & Glenn, Cheryl, Eric, Gayle,
Ruth, Punch, David, Marshall, Carole, and Dorothy
Heather, outside the Occidental Flamenco hotel- anxiously waiting for our ride to the Bottom Time II
(Saturday, 2/3/01 1Canon 19a)
The Bottom Time II- our home away from home for 7 nights (182-311 22)
The Duck- one of 2 boats we would go out on twice a day to get closer to the whales!(Heather 1-4) The Bottom Time II Passengers (662-772 1)
"I am so excited to be here! To think that I'll be in the water tomorrow with Humpback whales blows my mind! I think it might be the most amazing experience I have ever had! I hope so at least..." from Heather's Journal

*** Day 1 with the Whales***

"For our first trip out... We went out on the zodiak- aka 'The Duck', with 2nd Captain Wade. I can't put into words how I felt out there.. fin slapping, breaching.. Wow! We were lucky to have Carole Carlson with us- she works for IFAW and she was able to tell us alot about the Atlantic Humpbacks. ...The time finally came when we all put on our snorkeling gear and got into the water with 2 whales. AMAZING! I just stuck my face in the water and was able to see them underwater! Both Heather & I dove down once and were able to hear (the whale) singing. At that moment I felt as though I had gotten my money's worth! It was an unbelievable experience. THEN- as we were all getting back onto the Duck, 2 whales breached--- right near our boat! It happened so fast, I don't think anyone got any pictures!" from Leslie's Journal

The shipwreck near the Bottom Time II (1Canon 16a) View of the Bottom Time II from the Duck
(PM Duck- 182-311 21)
This picture gives me the chills.. it was absolutely beautiful!
(PM Duck- 1Canon 12a)
We should be able to get this whale identified with this photo!
(PM Duck- 182-311 6)
Another fluke! (PM Duck- 182-311 16) Leslie & Heather (182-311 20)

*** Day 2 with the Whales***

A mother, calf and escort (AM Knife- 182-311 30)
One of the many dorsal fin pictures! (PM Knife- 182-311 16)
Heather- showing off her 'diving' skills! (PM Knife- 182-311 35) A fluke- right below us!
(Heather: 2-22)
Erika took Tiki & Ubie out on the surf board... (Heather: 1-23) Leslie (Heather: 1-3) & Heather (793-991 17)
A beautiful Sunset (one of many!) (1Canon 3a) Heather and Tiki (1Canon 1a)

*** Day 3 with the Whales ***

"Breathtaking, disbelief, surreal, lucky, magnificent, and wonderment. I think that sums up today's encounters pretty good. This is a dream come true! This morning we went out on the Duck with (2nd Captain) Wade, Dorothy, Paula and David. We caught up with a mother, calf and an escort. The 4 women decided it was as good- if not better- to stick our heads over the side of the Duck rather than slip into the water. It was unbelievable! The calf was so curious and kept coming near the boat, looking at us. At one point I was able to see the mother's eye- very up close. We were able to lean over 5-6 times and each time was awesome! One time Heather fell in! The best way to describe it was, "4 Bottom's Up". The calf was being so playful. It came straight up from the bottom once or twice and it seemed sooo close to us. One time they ended up under the Duck, and the baby swam under- the calf's fluke was only 5 ft away from us- as we had our heads in the water! ... The experience left me with chills!" from Leslie's Journal
"The whales are teaching us patience. Yesterday- no in the water encounters... Today- in the water encounters all day long! What an extraordinary day! ...At one point the calf went under the boat so her fluke was on one side, and her head was on the side we were hanging over from! All of a sudden her head appeared no more than five feet away from our faces! It literally took my breath away. ... I felt little fear, just pure awe and wonderment at their size, gracefulness and unimaginable intelligence." from Heather's Journal

Heather- Bottom's Up!!! (AM Duck 182-311 36)) Leslie and Heather (2Canon 1a)
A mother and calf- with 2 Escorts!
(AM Duck - 2Canon 8a)
An all black fluke (AM Duck - 182-311 32)
Another view from underwater (AM Duck - 791-700 3)
Mother and calf (AM Duck - 791-700 8) Mother and calf (AM Duck - 791-700 10)
Showing off his tummy! (AM Duck - 791-700 12)
Notice how much smaller the calf is!? (AM Duck - 791-700 14)
Mother, Calf & Escort- RIGHT below us (AM Duck - 791-700 15)
I think this whale was checkin' me out! (AM Duck - 791-700 19) Notice the blueish color below the fluke? It's the whale's fin!
(PM Knife- 791-700 22)
Can YOU imagine being this close to a Humpback whale?!
It's a life changing experience!
(PM Knife- 791-700 25)
Captain Roger- capturing us (& the whales) on video
(PM Knife- 793-991 1)
Heather got a *great* picture of the juvenile! (Heather: 3-9)
The female w/ the notched fin (Heather: 3-22)
Another fluke! (3canon2a) Heather- writing in her "Whale Tale" Journal (3canon1a)
3canon2aweb 3canon1aweb

"The afternoon trip on the Knife with Roger was just as fantastic as the first! This time it was 2 whales- one large female and a juvenile. We had 4 encounters with them- FOUR! The first- all of us were floating above them as they rested on the bottom. Leslie, Brennan and I were next to one another staring in disbelief at what we saw below us! The larger one began to come up to the surface right below us, but moved to the left of me- they are so aware of where we all are! Just as I was marveling at the size and CLOSE proximity of this whale, I look to my right and just beside Leslie and Brennan comes the smaller whale- it surfaced no more than 10 feet from us! ... These creatures are huge- able to crush us with a single thrust of their fluke. Yet they move gracefully and effortlessly between us without touching a single plastic flipper on our feet!"
from Heather's Journal

The Journey continues... Photos & more from Day 4 and 5 with the whales!


whale clip art

Miscellaneous Whale Photos

2002 Salt Cay Vacation

Gray Whale migration along So Cal coast
2005 Season      2006 Season

whale clip art

Whale Facts, Links & Whale Watching Information

Check it out... you can also *view* and sign our Guestbook!


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