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Whale Watching "Adventure" Trips


#1

So we’re going several days short of catching the whale watching season. After contacting the better groups who do it all by the book, they said we should still call and see if there will be “adventure” trips. They explained that this meant that they would be going out some days prior to the official season start and making no promises about witnessing the humpbacks. I believe it’s still the same price. It is also a very long drive from Punta Cana, and I was wondering if any of you have taken the pre-season “adventure” trips?

Though I figure it would still be worth the ride to Samana for snorkeling. I’m just very excited about seeing whales. The only whales I see in NYC are fiberglass models in the museum.

And we’re 100% against going to that other place where can swim with dolphins and such. It just seems wrong that they are stuck there and the undocumented way in which they acquire them from the Cuban government.


#2

I would go if I were you. I live in Newfoundland and we have the most fantastic views of the whales right here and they are so beautiful. There is nothing in this world more majestic than watching the whales breaching and frolicking in the ocean. We can drive up to Cape Spear (about 20 minutes away) and sit on the hill and just watch them playing out in the ocean and I could stay there all day.


#3

Hi there qnsnyc, I haven’t been on an “adventure trip” but when I went to watch the whales in the middle of the season last year the whales weren’t that impressive (I think they were having a "let’s just pop up briefly to amuse the tourists"day!)so I would say risk it, it’s a lovely area and clear seas and a very pretty island to have lunch on so it should be good whatever. I haven’t been deterred by last years poor showing, this year I’m going to watch for two days!

Cheers Amandalou :-*


#4

when exactly is the whale season?


#5

I forget who it was on this forum but they mentioned that we should not take these trips because the whales are giving birth and they do not need the added stress of people or boats coming into the areas where they have or are having their young.
I was told two years ago from the sunquest rep that sometimes you can see them from the beach…I know it is not too up close but In my opinion I would stay away from them and not go on any trips to see them. Leave them alone and let nature do its thing without our interference.


#6

Sunny has the idea…sit on the hill and watch them from there… ;D


#7

great idea but when?


#8

[quote author=nic board=general thread=1136239761 post=1136261367]I forget who it was on this forum but they mentioned that we should not take these trips because the whales are giving birth and they do not need the added stress of people or boats coming into the areas where they have or are having their young.
I was told two years ago from the sunquest rep that sometimes you can see them from the beach…I know it is not too up close but In my opinion I would stay away from them and not go on any trips to see them. Leave them alone and let nature do its thing without our interference.[/quote]
What I said was that you should choose your tour operator wisely so that they work with Kim Beddall of Whales Samana / Victoria Marine as she puts the needs of these gentle giants before those of the tourists, unlike some boat operators who are just out to make a quick buck no matter what stress they cause the whales. I NEVER said that these trips should not be taken BUT that they should be taken responsibly.

My exact comments are reproduced here:

“Let’s get our facts straight. The humpback whales which visit the waters off of the DR do NOT flock anywhere to do anything near the beaches. They breed in the colder northern waters off of Nova Scotia (and other northerly land masses) and migrate south to the warm waters off the coast of the DR to give birth to their calves. This is why the whale watching is such a delicate operation (or should be) as the birthing process is stressful enough for mothers and calves without undue interference from tourists. This is the reason I recommend only certain Tour Operators who place the whale’s well-being above the interests of tourists and guide themselves accordingly.”

You will also note that I said that they are NOT near the beaches so unless I am wrong (and the Sunquest Rep. is right) there is just about zero probability of seeing any from land - in fact the MOST MAJOR humpback calving ground is not near Samana but is in fact some 100 km. north of the DR in an area of the Atlantic Ocean called the ‘Silver Bank’. In order to see the huge numbers of whales which congregate here it is necessary to take a week long boat tour which is partially tourist related and partly educational. These depart from primarily Puerto Plata in the period of late January to early April and are both expensive (over $2700US per person for the week) and well booked (sold out approximately one year in advance).

Gregg


#9

The whale watching season in Samana is approximately mid-January until mid-March; mas o menos.

Gregg


#10

thanks gregg


#11

Actually, we’re doing the watching through Kim Beddall. She was very helpful via email and she was the one who first mentioned the adventure trips that may take place some days prior to the season - which is the 14/15th I believe. We’re going back to NY on the 12th, and had I done all my homework, I would have booked so that we could enjoy the season.

What Gregg is talking about are practices between folks like Kim and other operators. Anyone with a boat tries to go out there, and it’s money first. With folks like Kim, the tours respect the regulations that were put in place to not interfere with the whales. For example, one of the rules is to stay 80 meters away from a group with a calf, and 50 away from any other. Then there are actually “turns”. So to not disturb them, each boat takes its turn viewing [30 minutes] then leaves and stays a giant 500 meters away, and another boat takes its place. There are also regs about the size of the boat, and the specified size is based on what is best for the whales. So is the pattern of sailing, as to not be in their way at all. There are also speed limits within the vision of whales. And no swimming.

Compare this to going South to that silly Aquarium thing and supporting their disturbing captivity of wild dolphins acquired questionably from the Cuban government who is not a signatory to various international agreements regarding them, this is great.

Then there is the support of research and protection. This is enforced by DR and included in the price.


#12

Don’t know if that question was directed at me or not but the whale season in the St. John’s area is early July to early August, quite the sight to see.


#13

How much should a person expect to pay for this excursion from a reputable guide? From the Punta Cana area?