Dominica

Silver Bank: Swimming with Humpback Whales in the Dominican Republic

A young humpback whale calf practices breaching out of the water, Silver Bank, Dominican Republic. Photo by Matthew Meier.

Slipping softly into the water, I had a straight path to the mother and calf that were resting near the surface only a short distance away. We closed the gap as quietly as a group of excited first-time whale watchers could manage and were rewarded with an initial glimpse of humpback whales from under the water. The newborn stayed close to its mother and swam up and over her rostrum as we looked on.

Lesser Antilles: Dominica

“Not the Dominican Republic, Dominica,” I corrected my friends for the umpteenth time regarding my upcoming trip. Then again, it was easy to understand how the gaffe had come about. While the former is home to sprawling resorts and package tourism, the latter is a tropical gem in the Lesser Antilles which is a far cry from its similarly-named Caribbean cousin.

Sperm Whales Of Dominica

The memory of my first sperm whale encounter is so visceral that I can almost feel myself there again if I close my eyes. As is common to most whale encounters, it wasn’t a particularly long one; the juvenile male merely drifted by slowly, effortlessly, turning on his side so he could stare at me with a tiny little eye before disappearing into the blue.