Our Salt Cay Vacation - Whales and Dolphins!

Salt Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands
(Feb 23-March 2, 2002)

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

"We must not only see whales with our eyes, but with our hearts."
- Wyland, Ocean Wisdom

Our Group:

Heather, Leslie, Gayle, Katie, Merry, Dawn,
Elaina, June, Laura, Carol, and Carolyn

Our Salt Cay friends:

(I hope I'm not forgetting anyone!)
Dean, Si, Debbie, Olly, Mike, Porter, Bob, Teddy

About Salt Cay

"From early in the 1700s until 1960s, Salt Cay was one of the largest exporters of salt in the world. You can still tour the Salinas (salt ponds) and windmills where the salt was actually produced. Salt Cay has several historical churches and old plantation homes to view where salt was stored prior to shipping. Being the most remote island, snorkeling and scuba diving is some of the best in the world! It has pristine walls, still teeming with fish and spectacular, colorful corals and sponges. Salt Cay is the southernmost inhabited island in the Turks and Caicos Islands, British West Indies. It is 90 miles north of the Dominican Republic, 650 miles southeast of Miami. It is home to 101 friendly souls rich in heritage and Caribbean culture, plus privately-owned cattle, numerous chickens, a small herd of wild donkeys, and 2 iguanas. The official language is English and the official currency is the U.S. dollar."-Source: from my trip literature

*** Introduction ***

Heather and I spent a week in paradise- Salt Cay, part of the Turks and Caicos Islands. We went out on the water twice a day in search of Humpback whales. We were blessed with a few sightings, and also saw some dolphins! We took photos and video footage of 2 encounters- one with a female humpback whale & her 15 ft long baby, and also of 4 bottlenose dolphins swimming with us!
We hope you enjoy the photos and journal entries from our trip.

"Heather and I arrived on Salt Cay (pronounced "key") today! It was a very long day of traveling and we are finally here. The water is so beautiful and it is so relaxing... I am so excited to go out on the boat in the morning and hopefully see the Humpback whales!"
- from Leslie's Journal
We stayed at the "Tradewinds"
Nice view from our place...
Heather, at Island Thyme Bistro- where we had our meals
Porter- Island Thyme's owner/chef/bartender!

The Daily Schedule

* 8am Breakfast
* 9-12:30 Morning Charter on the boat
* Lunch
* 3-5:30 Afternoon Charter on the boat
* 7:00-8:00ish Dinner
* 3 nights we had Presentations & slide shows
* 10pm - Bed time!


*** Sunday- February 24, 2002 ***

"Our first trip out to see the whales today was wonderful! The weather was perfect, but the water was a little choppy. ... Seeing the 1st group of whales was so exciting! It was a group of 4 adults. They didn't seem too thrilled with us and didn't give us a chance to get in the water with them." -from Leslie's Journal

Leslie, on Great Sand Cay
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Heather, on Great Sand Cay
Great Sand Cay
Captain Mike with the group
A beautiful sunset near Salt Cay
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*** Monday & Tuesday - February 25 & 26, 2002 ***

"After lunch, everyone else opted out of going back out on the boat because of how rough it was. So it was just Leslie and I with Captain Mike; like our own private charter! We didn't see any whales, but we came upon a group of dolphins (spinner dolphins?) ~ about 6 of them.
They were zipping around, riding the bow of the boat, jumping and "spinning" ~ it was so exhilarating to see them so close! I think they were going too fast to get a good photo of them, but I tried!"

-From Heather's Journal (2/25)

This picture captures the feeling of relaxation we had all week...
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"After being woken up too early by the mooing of cows outside our window (they roam the island freely), we went to breakfast at Porter's ~ had yummy coconut french toast. Went back out on the boat with Mike and everyone. The surf was so high, crashing into the shore. Once we "surfed" over the waves to get out, we were in waves they call "high rollers" ~ slow, huge walls of water slowly rolling towards you. It looked really cool, but it made it hard to spot any whales. We saw dolphins again..this time they were bottlenose dolphins. They were riding the bow of the boat; one was under the hull, riding along upside down! We could hear them "clicking" from in the boat. We got into the water after awhile ~ me, Leslie and Katie. But they left before we could see them. I was so excited to be in the water with just the possibility of dolphins coming near me! "
-From Heather's Journal (2/26)

*** Wednesday- February 27, 2002 ***

"Today's trip was FUN! We packed lunches and stayed out from 9-3. The weather was perfect and the water was like glass...
We found 3 adult whales, who were somewhat active. I was able to get a few pictures, including a 'fluke' picture. It was such a beautiful day. We got into the water a couple of times to cool off and snorkel."

-From Leslie's Journal
2 adult whales
Showing me a nice fluke
An all black fluke!
2 adults
Panoramic View of Salt Cay
View of Salt Cay
Heather, with Debbie's dogs
Taken from the highest point on the island, looking North
Group photo: June, Elaina, Dawn, Carol, Gayle, Carolyn, Dean,
Leslie, Heather and Katie


*** Thursday- February 28, 2002 ***

"This morning we had a small group because the water was a little choppy... We located a female and her calf- the calf appeared to be taking 'breaching' lessons; it looked like a torpedo coming out of the water! When we got closer to them, the 5 of us got into the water. It was so unreal- we were so close to them! I think both the female and her calf were just as curious about us as we were of them. The female made eye contact with all of us. Her flipper was right under us. I didn't know what to look at- her, her calf or both of them! I took pictures, but it won't capture the feeling of being next to these beautiful animals! ... What an amazing encounter! Dean was able to get all of this on video- using Heather's underwater video camera."
-From Leslie's Journal
Heather's yellow fin w/ a female humpback whale in the background
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Female humpback w/ her calf
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Female with her calf
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The female
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"Whales today are a symbol of people's desire to protect our ocean planet"
-Wyland, "Ocean Wisdom"

*** Friday- March 1, 2002 ***

"Today was our 'free day', so Heather and I decided to go on the all day charter with Reef Runners (with Captain Teddy). Dean joined us too. We came across the mother and calf from yesterday, but they were traveling too fast for us to get in the water with them. But.... We found some very playful dolphins! We got in the water with them 3 times! It was the coolest feeling to have a dolphin swim up to you and check you out. And I was able to hear the clicking sound in the water- it gives me goosebumps thinking about it. The water was so rough and we had to swim hard. I didn't care- I wanted to have the experience of swimming with wild bottlenose dolphins!"
-From Leslie's Journal
Heather, with her videocamera
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Dean, in search of lobsters
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Dean- with the lobster he caught!
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Dean- showing off the lobster
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1 of 4 bottlenose dolphins that were swimming with us!
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2 bottlenose dolphins
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Leslie & Heather
A beautiful day on Salt Cay
The Salt Cay port
Another nice sunset

~~~~~~~ IN SUMMARY ~~~~~~~

Heather and I left early on Saturday morning for our flight to Provo. We brought Dean with us--- our own personal tour guide! We went to the beach... in search of JoJo (the dolphin). The beaches on Provo are absolutely beautiful! White, fine sand and the bluest water. We didn't find JoJo- but we had our snorkel gear and cameras out, just in case! It would have been great to see Dean and JoJo interact! Maybe next time.
Both Heather and I did not want to leave the island. I felt like I was in paradise and I was so relaxed and in my element. The experiences we had will stay with us forever. If you ever want to experience a small island- I would choose Salt Cay any day!



Salt Cay
an island where time stands still.
Where alarm clocks are pre-set and unchangeable according to the crow of the cock .
The glorious red sun rise reflected in the salt pans.
A place where people still walk to work. A jogger even (which turned out to be Katie - complete with weights!).
Early morning divers trekking past with their gear from the various B & B's.
Miss Neddy's Bread, Sweet Bread and Sweet Sweet Bread. "And I don't do wheat bread."
For $5. White rice, potatoes, small cans of beans and pork and beans.
Sweet Katie's nurse shark and lollipop pink wet suit.
The dancing Causarinas and the waves louder than the Panuerhythmy music.
Aloe, prickly burs, beach glass and hermit crabs.
Osprey, Hummingbird and Heron. Millions of birds in May. Three kinds.
Donkeys, three horses and many cows. But the riding gear is on another island.
Where is the water to drink? Cisterns, open well, RO and the Government sells water.
Electricity, as everything else, very expensive and only recently has the ban on solar utilities been lifted.
Horses headed to drink from the cement mix water, which some say is poisonous.
One airline and the ferry gone bankrupt.
The on again off again Swim with Sting Rays.
Mike's beautiful slides of the diver's world off the 7000ft wall. Bleaching for lobsters. Kills the reef.
Cold fronts coming through - rather too consecutively.
Full moon and the Whales are in sync, with themselves and other Worlds.
Olly's stories of when he was a child - so many whales, Ambergris of the Sperm Whales washed up on shore even.
The old folk would use it for oil lamps, he still has some.
Conchs. Golf carts, $300 a year insurance, and $3 a gallon for gas.
The chainless flat tired bicycles and broken hammocks. Handful of old cars and pick up trucks.
Bread, beer and desserts $5. Fish dish $18 - $20.
And the glorious glorious waves and color of the ocean.
The sparkles, the great rolling swell and the dolphins. Bottlenose and Spinner and assorted flying fish.
The thrill of riding through the surf to come in and out of harbor on the flat board fiber glass diver skiffs.
Not the best thing for whale watching, white caps or sliding gracefully into the ocean, but perfect on the right occasion.
The ecstasy of Jim's fresh fruit!
Candy's amazing past (and present), Michelle's bubbling enthusiasm. Sue and Jagan.
Debbie and Olly - Dean and The Twins (smile!).
Plantation house Mount Pleasant and the salt fields owned by Robin's cousin.
Windy hill and the sunsets.
'The Whales have called you here. They have done their job - and you have been within their radiance.
Also to lighten the Joy note in your heart did the dolphins come. They have that ability.
To lighten the human aura, the human psyche.
Remember always, the Dolphins are the Joy Givers and the Whales are the Wisdom Keepers.'


Salt Cay Divers: offers scuba diving, snorkeling, and whale watching!
Jagan Tours: offers customized boat tours in the waters around Salt Cay, Grand Turk, and Great Sand Cay
Turks & Caicos Islands Tourism: "Beautiful by nature"
Mt. Pleasant:Escape to the historic Mount Pleasant Guesthouse on charming Salt Cay.
Sunset House: Bed & Breakfast- The oldest Plantation home on Salt Cay
Reef Runners: Diving, snorkeling & whale watching
Pirates Hideaway: Candy's Salt Cay guest house

In case you were wondering, the following cameras were used:
Canon Rebel 2000 EOS with a 200mm zoom (w/ polarized filter) (Fuji 400 speed film)
Minolta Vectis Weathermatic Zoom (400 speed Advantix film)
All pictures were taken by Leslie, except those labeled with "h". These were taken by Heather


Silver Bank Humpback Whales- 1

Silver Bank Humpback Whales- 2

Gray Whale migration along So Cal coast
2005 Season      2006 Season

Miscellaneous Whale Photos

Whale Facts, Links & Whale Watching Information

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


Heather's Photos  |    Leslie's:    Family & Friends Photos   |   Photo Gallery  |   Vacation Photos

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