April 1 – April 8, 2023 

Week Eleven of our 32nd Season

This year Aquatic Adventures embarks on its 32nd season of providing our guests the unique opportunity to encounter the North Atlantic humpback whales on their breeding and calving grounds, the Silver Bank. As the season unfolds, we’ll highlight some of the various encounters and experiences of our guests each week. We hope you enjoy following along!

There are few places in the world like the Silver Bank. Places so far off the beaten path that nature still rules and the influences of modern life feel of a distant past. When people board the Turks & Caicos Explorer II they have a few hours to check emails, make phone calls and download the latest episode of their favorite show. Once we leave the port, everyone is at nature’s mercy and will have to let go and accept the immersion into the wild they are about to embark on. The days and nights are dominated by the sun, wind and moon. Even though our regular schedule (0700-0800 breakfast, 0830 departure, 1230 lunch, 1400 departure etc.) is fairly regimented, we too make accommodations for the change in weather and whale behavior. This week was the full moon. As mentioned in previous posts, there seems to be a change in whale behavior during this time in the lunar cycle. There are theories that the brighter evenings cause the whales to be more active at night; perhaps this is the most romantic time of the month and the mating grounds become overly active. Whatever the reason, the trend seems to be very busy mornings and evenings, full of high energy encounters and mid day is quiet. So we alter our schedule to enjoy the early mornings, come in for an early lunch and spend more time out in the afternoon.

All week the mornings seemed to be full of surface activity. From full spinning head breaches to rowdy groups, the mornings had us on the edge of our seats. The afternoons seemed slightly slower, so we spent some time snorkeling the shipwreck close by until the whales appeared again.

One afternoon we had our closest encounter with a mother and calf of the entire season. The whales stayed with us for hours as both tenders, Escort and Challenger, took turns putting their guests in. Each time, the mother went to rest just below the surface and her calf came up to circle the guests. The calf was very curious and showed off its newly learned skills to the guests, spinning and throwing its tail about playfully. Once the female decided to come up to breathe, she would purposefully rise up to the calf, pushing it away from the guests, as if to give us some time to gather ourselves back into the tender and have the next group come in. Once or twice the mother, holding her calf at bay, came up directly in front of the guests with the tip of her rostrum pointed towards us, giving everyone a clear view and understanding of her sheer size. While her calf spins and inverts, looking like a ballerina under water, she slowly descends just below the surface to swim under us and we are humbled by her grace and agility. We don’t need to move a muscle as the whales seem to know exactly where we are and seem just as curious as we are, making eye contact on their way by. One of the guests mentioned after this encounter “You know, I’ve heard people say that they are sentient beings, but until now, I mean, wow, I have no doubt now.”

It’s six a.m., the full moon is setting and on the opposite side of the horizon the sun rises above, both at the same height in the sky in equilibrium. Guests are now on the fly bridge stretching and greeting the day. Later that evening the crew will throw a full moon party; music, drinks, masks and a disco ball to celebrate the end of an amazing week. Lightning flashes across the sky as the guests dance to Dominican music. The rain is being held off as we continue to dance and far in the distance we see a very rare night rainbow. This place never ceases to amaze with its magnificent whales and raw nature. We can’t help but wonder what our next week, being our last of the season, will grace us with.


The Aquatic Adventures team hopes that you are as inspired as we are to help sustain the humpback whale population. Through our partnership with the Center for Coastal Studies, we are helping to gain critical information on these charismatic creatures, and to seek ways to protect and preserve them. To find out more about this effort, join their mailing list or to make a donation, large or small, please visit: www.coastalstudies.org/aquaticadventures

We are proud to support SeaLegacy in their efforts to create powerful media to change the narrative around our world’s oceans. Their mission is to inspire the global community to protect our oceans. To learn more about SeaLegacy and help with this important mission, please visit: https://www.sealegacy.org

Thanks to all who have generously donated!

Learn more about Aquatic Adventures here.

Written by: Aquatic Adventures team member Gillian Morin
Edited by: Aquatic Adventures team member Heather Reser 

Images: Lorenzo Martinez/Aquatic Adventures and Janusch Grochola