Early spring, with tropical breezes and warm Caribbeanwaters of the Silver Bank, a select few travelers will have
the incredible opportunity to get very up close andpersonal with one of natures most captivating creatures
the Humpback Whale. The Silver Bank is the winter birthing and mating grounds for these typically gentle creatures. From aboard our
ship and smaller launches we see groups of them cruising by gracefully.
Groups of males competing for females result in almost constant activity that will thrill and delight us. Mothers care for newborn calves
and come within close range to explore these strange humans, us! This is not a whale WATCHING trip, when the whales are more sedate
we have the unbelievable chance to slip into the water with snorkel gear and view these gentle giants in their own environment. Our
encounters are quite safe with these intelligent, enormous creatures. This rare opportunity will truly touch your heart and speak to your
The in water encounters are strictly up to you and the whales. Picture taking from our boat will give you more than you ever imagined.
Evenings will be filled with videos and information educating us regarding whale behavior.
Particularly captivating are the famed Humpbacks songs, which can reverberate like loud music through your body. Using hydrophones
we will have the rare chance to listen closely to their sounds, their unique conversations.
This trip is geared toward snorkeling and exploration; other wildlife includes tropical fish, seabirds, corals and possibly tropical spotted
dolphins. Please bring your own snorkel gear.
The dive deck is equipped with individual gear lockers, camera table, recharging station and separate freshwater rinse baths for equipment and
cameras. It also has a wet suit hanging area, freshwater showers, and a bathroom. Large stairways lead down to the dive platform, where two in-
water ladders hang for easy access to and from the water. Forward of the dive deck is the air-conditioned main salon, where meals are served. The
salon also contains an entertainment center with TV/DVD and stereo, as well as a boutique display and access to all staterooms and the galley
The chef and stewards will provide you an excellent variety of delicious cuisine in the scenic dining room and unparalleled service including daily
steward service. If you have a general request regarding diet, please let us know so that we may advise the ship directly. They will do their best to
accommodate your wishes. Each passenger has a gear locker and wet suit rack. Water, ice tea, coffee, assorted sugar free juices, fruit juices, and
alcoholic beverages are provided. Happy hour daily on the sundeck offers daily snacks, green flash sunsets and starlit nights. Additionally, an onboard
boutique with vacation videos is available throughout the week. You may pay for your onboard expenditures with credit cards, travelers’ checks and
cash or by personal check (cash is preferred).
BOAT: Review deck plan and cabins click here
The live aboard “M/V Turks & Caicos Explorer II is a 124 ft. vessel
with a 22 ft. beam that sleeps 20 passengers. This is the nicest platform for
whale watching on the Silver Bank.
COST: Based on cabin type / double occupancy
Trip cost includes $250 Silver Bank Marine Mammal Sanctuary tax
The VIP staterooms 1 & 2 feature;
individually controlled air-conditioning systems, a queen-sized bed,
desk, chair, private bathroom and shower. Cost PP: $3,845.00
Main Deck cabins which have either twin beds or queen size bed and have
all of the same amenities as stated above except no TV/DVD player in the room.
There is TV/DVD player in the Salon for everyone's use. Cost PP: $3,645.00
Lower deck cabins have upper and lower beds, all the same amenities exceot the
TV/DVD player and the desk. Cost PP: $3,445.00
ADDITIONAL COSTS: A $250.00 fuel surcharge and port fee to be "paid in cash" on the boat. Single supplement fee is an additional cost if
you would like your own cabin. Inquire for cost depending on cabin type. Gratuity to crew - suggested 15 - 20% of trip cost.
WHATS INCLUDED: Three meals a day, snacks throughout the day/evening, all coffee, tea, juices, all alcoholic (limited to well spirits,beer
and wine) and non-alcoholic beverages (limited selection) all linens, towels, hot showers, air conditioned staterooms and amenities, video library, CD
library, and all tender activity.
NOT INCLUDED: Airfare to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, tourist cards needed for arrival, (a tourist card must be purchased from your
air carrier before your arrival to Puerto Plata or upon arrival in Puerto Plata), transfers to and from the ship or hotels, land tours, excess baggage
charges, departure taxes at airport, cruising, port & sanctuary fees, fuel surcharge (listed above under cost), equipment rental, vacation videos,
sundries, gratuities (15%-20%) for boat crews.
VERY LIMITED SPACE Early booking recommended - $1,000.00 non-refundable deposit is required. This trip is open to women and men.
When we are not engaged in whale activities you may want to snorkel and explore the surrounding spotty reefs. Scuba diving is strictly
prohibited in the whale nursery area. Relaxing on deck and nighttime stargazing make for a relaxing end to an active day. Evenings will
also be filled with videos, slide narratives, and information shared by our captain educating us about the whales.
Day 7, Friday. After breakfast we depart the Silver Bank arriving in Puerto Plata mid afternoon. The afternoon is yours to explore Puerto
Plata, shop, beachcomb, or take a land tour. Dinner will be served on board or you may eat in town at a local restaurant.
Day 8, Sat. After breakfast you are free to transfer to the airport for your flight home. Taking with you close connections with new
friends and memories of an experience with humpback whales that few people in the world will ever have.
SWIMMING ABILITY: You do not need to be an expert swimmer to participate in this program. Observing and photographing the
whales from our ship and small launches will give you more than you ever dreamed. Some guests choose not to snorkel with the whales.
Should you choose to, confidence in your swimming ability may enhance your experience. Might be a good time for some practice at your
local YMCA before the trip.
SNORKEL GEAR: This trip is geared toward snorkeling and exploration. Other wildlife might include spotted dolphins, corals,
seabirds, tropical and flying fish. The boat does not supply any snorkel gear; you must supply and bring your own. Buy good equipment
that fits properly.
CLIMATE: Expect warm sunny, beautiful days with temperatures reaching the mid-eighties. Bring plenty of sunscreen, brimmed hat
and sunglasses. Water temperature range from 75-78, you may bring a wet suit if you wish.
PHOTOGRAPHY: The photo opportunities will be abundant and dramatic! Bring your telephoto lenses and plenty of film. We will be
very close to the whales so expect sea spray, bring some protective covering for your camera and a towel. The disposable underwater
Kodaks work pretty well but investing in a better quality underwater camera might be worth considering.
ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE: You will need to make your own travel arrangements to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Please
plan to arrive by Day 1 by afternoon or early evening. On day 8, departure flights should be scheduled mid morning or later. You will
take a taxi to the marina to board the boat.
Please contact me to make your initial reservation for the trip. If you have questions or need any assistance in booking your flight to
Puerto Plata please contact me.
TRAVEL INSURANCE: If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance there are several reputable companies. You can check
quotes for various companies by going to www.insuremytrip.com website.
Please keep in mind our encounters with the whales in the Silver Bank
vary from trip to trip and are solely determined by the whales.
We cannot guarantee in-water encounters.
But from past experiences the whales have never disappointed us and in the end have given us more than we could have ever dreamed
possible! This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime, transformational experience and you will be among only a few people in the world who have
ever had the privilege of floating eye-to-eye, side by side with humpback whales!
HUMPBACK WHALES OF THE SILVER BANK - GENERAL INFO
The humpback whale is familiar to the general public because of its acrobatics, haunting songs and distribution near human activities.
Humpbacks also are possibly the easiest whales to identify. Mostly black with a unique rotund shape, humpbacks viewed from the air look
like a box with long ribbons hanging off the side. The "ribbons" are really the 15-ft. long pectoral fins that give humpbacks the generic
name Megaptera, meaning long winged.
The flippers are often exposed when the whale breaches, an activity common to humpbacks. The dorsal fin, which is variable in size and
shape, is mounted on a hump in the back. This hump, combined with the whales habit of arching its back before diving, gives the
humpback its common name.
SONGS. The humpbacks are perhaps best known for their elaborate and complex songs. These songs, apparently sung only by the
males, seem to be part of the courtship and territorial behavior. Heard mostly on the wintering grounds, the song in any given year is
remarkably constant throughout the population and seems to evolve throughout the season. Dr. Roger Payne, founder of The Whale
Conservation Institute, and colleague Scott McVay, first introduced the revelation that the apparently random utterances made by
humpback whales are actually in the form of repeated patterns of sound, and thus are properly called songs. This led to the distribution of
the record "Songs of the Humpback Whale" not only worldwide, but galaxy wide as the record was placed on Voyager I and II spacecraft.
Even before I saw my first Humpback whale, I had a feeling that this was an experience that I would want to re-live again. I'm not sure
what made the experience so special: my love of the whales, spending time with all the wonderful passengers & crew, or being out in the
middle of the ocean with my twin sister, Heather? Maybe it was all of the above. I felt as though I had gotten my money's worth after the
first trip out to swim with the whales! Each day was filled with a feeling of excitement, wonderment, and disbelief. The evenings included
beautiful sunsets, educational presentations about whales - the need to protect them and their environment, and gatherings on the back
deck with everyone to reflect on the day's activities.
I am so thankful to Gayle for introducing me to such an amazing, stress-free vacation. I don't think I'll ever forget what it was like to
FLOAT WITH THE WHALES. When you go whale watching, you only get to see 10% of their world when you slip into the water, and peer
beneath the waterline, you actually get to see and feel what it is like to be in their world! It is amazing how they seem to accept our
presence and allow us to see their babies. It was truly magical and it has changed my life forever... I am extremely lucky to have had this
Leslie Rapp, I/T Consultant, Ohio - 3 humpback whale trips with Gayle!
The experience of being surrounded for 5 days by the energy of the whales, seeing them swim, dive, leap into the air and then having the
opportunity of an in water encounter was so deeply satisfying. In their being they communicated the freedom and joy of life. Gayle's love
for these creatures and her dedication to personal growth and discovery provided the perfect setting for this incredible adventure.
Judy Voruz, Psychotherapist, Oregon
Just wanted to say a few words about the Journeys of Discovery whale vacation in the Dominican Republic that I was a part of from Feb.
26 to March 4, 2000. The whales were incredible. At first you feel a little overwhelmed by the size of the whales, but then you realize that
they truly are gentle creatures. It is not the same as going "whale watching". You actually feel as though you are sharing something very
special with the whales personally. I felt it was well organized & the cost was appropriate. The other factor was Gayle, she was the perfect
hostess. Introducing everyone and making them feel comfortable. At the end of the trip we had time to go to the Dominican Republic to
shop and have dinner. Gayle arranged all of this and escorted us thru the shops to find the items we could not live without. If you are
thinking about a whale adventure, Gayle is the person to help assist you with a fabulous vacation.
Christy Spittler, RN, Nebraska
Gayle really knows how to put a trip together! The week with the whales in the Silver Banks was incredible. It was a week full of
wonderful encounters with whales, good food, comfortable accommodations, great people. In short, one never to be forgotten, and maybe
Mary Ann and Howard Watrou, retired, Ohio
Artwork by Dick Wisshack
of the Silver Bank
soft in-water encounters with whales
Day 1, Sat. Arrive Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. You will need to make arrangements with the office to be met by their driver
who will take you to the commercial pier to meet the boat. Boarding is anytime between 5 p.m. and midnight. Dinner will be served on
board and you will have the chance to meet the crew.
Day 2-6, Sun - Thurs. Among the whales in the Silver Bank. The boat will leave port in the wee hours, between 5:30 and 6 a.m. and
arrive in the Silver Bank late morning depending upon weather. We will have an orientation on the whales and their habitat. In the
summer the whales make their home in New England and Eastern Canada where they feed in the rich, dark waters. But winter brings
them to the warm, clear and calm waters of the Caribbean to give birth and mate. Our captain will also outline very specific guideline
protocol that will dictate our whale encounters.
Our ship is anchored in an area where dozens upon dozens of humpbacks tend to congregate. We live on the mother ship, but use
launches (smaller boats) and venture out among the whales several times a day. They are extremely active at this time of year as
groups of males, called rowdy groups, aggressively compete for receptive females. This lends itself to fabulous sightings with a great
deal of action including constant breaching, ramming, slamming, lob-tailing and fin slapping. Our small boats allow us to get right
next to the whales so the photographic opportunities are incredible and this amazing spectacle will leave you breathless.
The highlight of this trip though is the possibility for multiple soft-in-water encounters with the whales. This happens when the whales
are more sedate, and most often occurs when a mother and calf approach us and indicate their interest in having us join them in the
water. A VERY LARGE male escort usually accompanies them. When we join them in the water they often are very inquisitive and
will swim around us, under us, roll over to get a better look at us or hang motionless in the water so we can get a better look at them.
This will give you the extremely rare opportunity for an underwater photograph of a humpback whale that you will treasure for a
lifetime. The thrill and once in a lifetime opportunity to snorkel with these gentle giants in their own environment will be one of the
most moving and transformational experiences that you might ever have. The Dominican Republic government has issued a special
permit so that we may be in the whale sanctuary. We are extremely sensitive to the whales and make sure we do nothing to upset or
affect their normal behavior.
|What's it like to swim with whales?
Beyond words...a journey for your soul
|Booking Now for 2015
Humpback Whale season
Trips are from Sat. to Sat. and begin the
last week in Jan. 2015 and
run until early April