Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

The Buildup

Posted from The Silver Bank, Dominican Republic at 6:00 pm, March 16th, 2009

I suspect that this trip may be one that has a slow build-up to a grand finale – yesterday we saw whales from the boat, but weren’t able to dive with any. Today we found several whales in the morning that seemed ready to let us dive with them, and then a big male would arrive, another pair would displace our whales, or some other circumstance would prevent getting in the water. We did have an awesome experience with a “rowdy group” – four males fighting for the attention of one female. Finally, right around lunchtime we found a cooperative mother and calf and did several dives, and while visibility was poor it was still pretty awesome to be in the water and watching a whale; the experience of seeing a baby whale peek out from under its mother and then slowly rise to the surface in front of you is not something that will soon be forgotten. In addition, at one point we were in the water, unable to find the whales, and while returning to the boat turned around to find them swimming ten feet below us. Denise was signalling me to return to the boat, while I was signalling that to do so would involve swimming between a mother and calf (generally considered to be a bad idea that can lead to being smashified by whale); this was another experience that won’t soon be lost to memory.

Lunch was delayed two hours while we played with the mother and calf, and after a quick bite to eat we went back out to absolute silence on the water. After some searching we found two whales that were surfacing at a sixteen minute interval, but each time they would go down we were unable to find them in the depths. Sadly the photography hasn’t yet yielded anything worth posting, although if it calms down or visibility improves then anyone would be able to take a nice shot of a whale underwater, breaching, fin slapping, or just surfacing, so with luck I’ll get a few of those soon.

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