snorkeler photographing a humpback whale - coral triangle adventures

About Humpback Whales and the Silver Banks

Snorkeling with humpback whales on the Silver Bank, Dominican Republic!

Map of Silver Banks, Dominican Republic - coral triangle adventures

Silver Banks, Dominican Republic

Scientifically named for their incredibly long pectoral fins and one of the regions they congregate, humpback whales, Megaptera novaengliae (giant-winged New Englander), are undeniably one of the planet’s largest and most majestic creatures. While they range all over the world and typically migrate thousands of miles each year, there are several genetically distinct populations and the North Atlantic humpbacks are visibly divergent in their morphological features, feeding behaviors, as well as their song. Generally known for their exceedingly acrobatic breaching and other surface behaviors, these gentle, baleen giants, which can reach sizes of over 50-feet in length, also exhibit one of the most complex and fascinating vocalizations known in nature. For centuries humpbacks have been hunted for their blubber, oil, and meat and yet very little is known about their feeding techniques, communication, social structure, and reproduction. It is amazing that one of the world’s largest creatures remains a current mystery in regards to its overall behaviors and capabilities. One thing is known, however, and that is snorkeling with these enormous, gentle, intelligent marine mammals is one of the greatest opportunities marine life enthusiasts can have!

Our humpback whale encounters take place on the Silver Bank, Dominican Republic. Lying southeast of the Turks & Caicos Islands and about 70 miles north of the Dominican Republic, the Silver Bank is a shallow but mostly submerged reef platform surrounded by deep oceanic waters. Covering over 600 square miles in the Atlantic Ocean, the Silver Bank is named for the treasure spilled from the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion that went down in 1641 while trying to navigate through this perilous reef system. Patch reefs sporadically rise from the floor of the bank providing a relatively calm area for Humpback mothers and calves. It is thought that most of the humpbacks found in the North Atlantic migrate from the plankton-rich waters off New England and eastern Canada to the Silver Bank each winter. The entire Silver Bank is a now a Dominican Republic Marine Mammal Sanctuary that encompasses the calving and breeding grounds for a majority of the Atlantic humpback whale population. During winter months no vessel is allowed to visit the area without a permit and our vessel has one of only three such permits.

Please join us for this incredible adventure!

Humpback whale raising its flukes on the Silver Banks, Dominican Republic - coral triangle adventures

Humpback whale identification

humpback whales breach from the water in the Silver Banks, Dominican Republic - coral triangle adventures

A humpback whale breaching

Atlantic humpback whales have white pectoral fins - Silver Banks, Dominican Republic - coral triangle adventures

Atlantic humpbacks distinctive feature

 

Click on the tour date below to read about trip details including accommodationspricing, and how you can join us!

 

Itinerary


route map for Silver Banks, Dominican Republic - coral triangle adventures

Silver Banks, Dominican Republic route map

Our 8-day snorkeling adventure to the Silver Bank begins and ends in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. We depart from the coastal area of Cofresi for the Silver Bank, taking about 10 hours to reach our destination located about 80 miles from the coast.

Day 1: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Meals provided: D
Arrive in Puerto Plata and transfer on your own to the resort beach community of Cofresi where we will meet at the Ocean World Marina at 5:00 pm. We depart for the Silver Bank after our orientation and welcome dinner. Overnight Turks and Caicos Explorer II

Day 2 – 6: Silver Bank / Humpback Whales
Meals provided: B,L,D
Our next five full days will be spent snorkeling with humpback whales and having the chance to watch them breach and interact from our comfortable skiff.
Overnight Turks and Caicos Explorer II

Day 7: Silver Bank extra!
Meals provided: B,L,D
Our itinerary gives us the unique opportunity to spend an entire extra morning on the Silver Bank! Unlike most other tour programs (including tour programs offered by our chartered boat) we contracted to spend the morning of Day 7 with the whales…and we will have them all to ourselves as the other boats will have left the night before!!
Overnight Turks and Caicos Explorer II

Day 8: Cofresi / Puerto Plata / International Departures
Meals provided: B
After breakfast we disembark from the boat where we have the chance to ride the Teleferico Puerto Plata Cable Car tour. Located on the top of Mount Isabel (elevation 2500 ft.) the classic cable car affords incredible views of Puerto Plata and nearby environs. Transfers to the airport are included with this tour (most flights depart Dominican Republic in the afternoon). For those with earlier flights, we will arrange transfers from the boat directly to the airport (via taxi).

 

What to Expect

The Silver Bank is located between the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos in the tropical Caribbean Sea.  Air temperatures hover around 28º C (82º F). Afternoon and early morning showers are common but the sun generally shines throughout the day creating a perfect environment for swimming in the clear, blue seas. Water temperatures generally hover around 26º C (78º F), though temperatures may vary on either side by a degree or two.

Due to the nature of this specific snorkeling activity, our snorkeling days will depart from our usual daily schedule. While we plan to spend as much time in the water as possible, it is largely the whales that will dictate our snorkeling times. Encounters can last for minutes up to hours and can occur at any time during the day. As such, we ask everyone to have a fair bit of flexibility and be prepared to snorkel at any moment (yes, even during lunch :-).

 

Join Us!

Click on the tour date to read about trip details including accommodations, pricing, and how you can join us!

March 21 – 28, 2020, $5600 USD per person, double occupancy

Please email us with any questions you may have about this trip.