Now there was probably enough cheese in that croissant to fill up a normal girl for two meals, but apparently I am not a normal girl. And since it was my birthday, I decided to treat myself to a warm apple pastry to round out the meal. Happy Birthday to me. :D
Sounded like the perfect opportunity to squeeze in some morning yoga to us!
Now for a little background info on whale watching:
Samaná Bay has the rare distinction of being one of the best locations internationally to observe the well known and popular whale species, the Humpback (Megaptera novaengliae) .
Each winter Humpbacks migrate anywhere from 2000 to 4000 miles, from distant northern feeding grounds in the Gulf of Maine, the east coast of Canada, Greenland and Iceland, to the warm Caribbean water of the Dominican Republic to reproduce.
Almost the entire North Western Atlantic Humpback whale population spends the months of January, February and March utilizing several offshore areas: Silver Bank and Navidad Bank as well as Samaná Bay.
Humpback whales are a whale watchers delight, they are coastal whales, easily found very close to shore and are considered one of the most active species of whale in the world with an amazing repertoire of behaviors some of which are unique to the reproductive end of their annual migration.
Turns out that was not to be. But we were blissfully oblivious to this at the start and went on dreaming our Free Willy dreams while huming the Gilligan´s Island theme song as the boat left the dock:
Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
A tale of a fateful trip
That started from this tropic port
Aboard this tiny ship.
The mate was a mighty sailing man,
The skipper brave and sure.
Five passengers set sail that day
For a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
So I may also have been experiencing what I like to call, "bargainer´s high."
Apparently the whales were being shy today so we headed out quite a distance in order to find them. Our guides kept mentioning that they were seeing "spouts" in the distance, so we would turn the boat this way or that and travel another couple miles towards the so-called "spout." We would arrive in the spot and sit and wait. With no sign of the whales after 15 or 20 minutes, we would move on. After a while I was beginning to think that the scouts were merely "saying" that they were seeing "spouts" in order to keep us passengers from getting too restless.
It wasn´t working overly well.
The worst however, was when our guides insisted they saw two whales in the distance. We dropped anchor in the aforementioned location and waited, eyes glued to the water. Apparently most whales will resurface every 10-15 minutes for air. Well the 15 minutes passed and no whales popped up. The guide told us to be patient and to keep scanning, these whales were just "long divers," meaning they could hold their breaths for 20 or 30 minutes.
The poor woman sitting just down the isle from me had been throwing up for over an hour, and Sydney wasn´t in prime form either.
The 20 minute and 30 minute mark both slid by without hide nor hare of the whales, but our guide was adamant; keep waiting, she said, these whales are just "really long divers," a whale can hold its breath for up to 40 minutes if need be. Finally after 40 minutes we were informed that another spout had been spotted, but way away in the distance.
I was pretty sure the staff were inventing things by now. I had just had my eyes glued to the ocean for 40 minutes and hadn´t seen a thing.
About that time a spout of water shot into the air followed by a giant grey tale sinking below the water. Our boat sped off for a closer look! 5 minutes later 2 impossibly large sea beasts were arcing gracefully threw the air. Finally! The whales!
And now, a series of missed whale shots. Turns out for such big animals, they are a bit tricky to capture on film.
In any case, we spent the next 20 minutes following a pair of whales around as they splashed and spouted along the surface, until our time was finally up. Thank goodness. The whales were lovely, but they would have been 10 times lovelier had they decided to make an appearance in the first 1-2 hours of the trip.
On the plus side, I did get to see two whales leap Free Willy style.
I, on the other hand, went out in search of a nice dinner (I had skipped lunch in order to splurge on some good seafood for my birthday) and a wifi connection. I couldn´t end my birthday without a skype session with my twin sis after all.
(But as a side note, I still really miss all of you back home!)
Stay tuned for Las Terrenas Day 3