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When Necker Belle is sailing in the Silver Bank in February and March 2012 all charters will be accompanied by Tom Conlin of Aquatic Adventures who has a wealth of experience working with these magnificent mammals. Tom tells us in his own words about his passion for the humpbacks and what people can expect to see when they're on and in the water.
Tom says: Since 1990, I've relentlessly read everything I could get my hands on concerning humpback whales, but my real knowledge stems from spending 216 weeks in the field, watching, listening, and trying to discern the movements, behaviours and attitudes of the North Atlantic Humpback Whale.
Recording whale behaviours and my thoughts as they occur has helped me theorize and understand movement, breaching, lob tailing, communications, resting, rowdy groups, courtship and mother/calf interaction. Not to mention behaviour changes due to time of season, wind and sea conditions, positions of the moon and the variable weather patterns we experience throughout this time period.
To observe these majestic mammals in their natural habitat during their mating and calving season is without a doubt one of the most overpowering experiences you will ever have. During the winter months an uncontrollable desire to migrate South overcomes the North Atlantic Humpback Whale. Why they migrate and their exact migration route is unknown, but we do know they travel to numerous mating and calving areas in the Antilles. Click on the following link to what swimming with the whales of the Silver Bank is actually like!
We may never know why these mammoth mammals migrate south on a yearly basis, but one thing is for certain, females go into estrus during this time frame and the males testosterone is overflowing, creating one of natures most exciting arenas of courtship. The waters of the Antilles are harmoniously alive with the songs of the humpback whale during the mating and calving season. You will be actively involved as we digitally record the songs and communication that you hear during this time frame. Our hydrophone will introduce you to vocalizing males in search for an agreeable female as your chest vibrates and ears tingle from the strength of their song.
One of the highlights of your adventure will be when you have the opportunity to slip into the water to experience a soft-in-water encounter with these magnificent mammals.
Trying to express in words the feelings you will experience as a mother with a calf slipstreaming along her back, gliding by you, is an impossible task with no words doing justice to this sensation. Visualize a female with escort, acrobatically spiraling around you for hours, as she toys with your presence, playfully returning to your position while totally in control of her body movements. The sheer thought of a thirty to fifty foot mammal coming to you, on their terms, in their domain, allowing you to share their world, is dreamlike in nature, but dreams do come true everyday on a "Whales of the Silver Bank Expedition".
As you can see your days on the Silver Bank are filled with excitement and opportunity. Keep in mind, there are good times and there are slow times, but there are rarely bad times!
Necker Belle, Sir Richard Branson's luxury catamaran, will be sailing the Silver Bank in February and March 2012, when up to 7,000 humpback whales visit the area for an elaborate courtship ritual on their annual migration south. When you charter Necker Belle for 7 nights you'll get the opportunity to observe the whales as they spend a great deal of time on the surface. The Silver Bank is located north of the Dominican Republic and southeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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Welcome aboard from the SY Necker Belle crew!
Necker Belle: How she came to be
What's in a name?
A Major Milestone
She's moving out!
We're on the water!
Stepping the mast
The Sail Trials