About This Trip
- Swim with humpback whales, including docile mother-and-calf pairs whose curiosity will bring you eye-to-eye with one of the world’s largest mammals for a truly unforgettable experience.
- Observe and photograph the intricacies of whale behavior while learning how to interpret those behaviors from our experts.
- Enjoy five total days of whale interaction, a half day longer than other trips, as you discover the Silver Bank, an important whale calving and breeding site within the Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic.
- Participate (if you choose to) in a research collaboration with Ted Cheeseman and the Center for Coastal Studies.
In the warm waters of the Dominican Republic, the world’s largest concentration of humpback whales converges to mate and calve on the Silver Bank. Our expedition aboard the 20-passenger Turks and Caicos Explorer II has been timed to coincide with peak breeding season, enabling once-in-a-lifetime experiences of both in-water whale encounters and boat-based whale watching.
Witness males vying for the coveted “escort” role and hear them sing their famous songs. Slip into the water to see curious and playful calves follow their mothers to nurse, socialize, and learn. And watch for surface activity like breaching, flipper-slapping, and competitive interactions. Our trip is offered in partnership with Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris, whose co-owner, renowned whale researcher Ted Cheeseman, will be on board to share his extensive knowledge of the behaviors, anatomy, and temperaments of the North Atlantic humpback whales.
Don’t miss coming eye-to-eye with whales during soft in-water encounters—nothing compares to sharing the water with a whale!
Notes on Trip Costs
Trip price depends on cabin selection and does not include airfare. If you are a single traveler, we will try to find a roommate for you. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.
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Founded in 1969, Oceanic Society is America’s oldest 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean conservation. As pioneers of “eco travel,” our expeditions have been designed to directly support our mission. They not only positively impact our travelers, but also the people, places, and wildlife we go to see. Your expedition costs include fees that support conservation and promote sustainable livelihoods in the communities we visit, and Oceanic Society's earnings are invested back into our global research and conservation programs. In 2019, we also established our Expedition Impact Fund (EIF) as a way to grow our impact. The fund is seeded annually with money earned from our expeditions, and supplemented by donations from Oceanic Society travelers. Through the EIF, we award grants to our partners for their on-the-ground efforts to protect ocean habitats and the wildlife and human communities that depend on them.
Dates & Prices
Day 1: Arrive In Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic And Embark On The Ship
Arrive in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic by mid-afternoon and transfer to the Turks and Caicos Explorer II. You’ll navigate to the mooring site while you sleep in your comfortable cabin for the night.
Day 2: Arrive on the Silver Bank
After breakfast you’ll be briefed about soft in-water encounters, a profound experience for all, and prepare for a full afternoon on the two tenders.
Days 3–6: Watch and Swim with Whales
The numerous female humpback whales that choose the Silver Bank as their nursery for their newborn calves are usually nestled in the northeast corner of the Silver Bank, a relatively shallow area protected by coral heads. Although coral heads encompass the entire Silver Bank, the northeast corner has extensive coral that breaks the surface during low tides, giving protection to newborn calves (and you!).
You may have some “whale waiting” time while looking for cooperative humpback whales, but that time is quickly forgotten when you are amidst surface activity and soft in-water encounters. Most of the time you will find whale activity nearby. In fact, you will more often ask, “Which whale should we watch?” rather than, “Where are the whales?” The biggest obstacle to success is spending too much time with uncooperative whales, so be prepared to leave one group in search for more cooperative ones; be patient as you may approach many whales before finding an interested group that allows us to join them in their element and on their terms.
Day 7: Morning Whale Watching, then Return to Puerto Plata
You will spend the morning on the tenders then return to the ship for lunch. Sail back to Puerto Plata through the banks, watching for more whale, and possibly dolphin, activity from the ship deck while bidding farewell to the world of these docile creatures. You will arrive in Puerto Plata in the late evening for your last night on board.
Day 8: Disembark and Fly Home
Disembark in the morning and transfer to the airport for your flights home.
Turks & Caicos Explorer II
The Turks and Caicos Explorer II is a 124ft ship that provides the best platform for whale watching and swimming with whales on the Silver Bank of Dominican Republic. You’ll anchor near the reef and venture out in one of two tenders to share your days…
Your expedition will be led by one or more of the following expert naturalist guides: