Whale watching in Dominican Republic
It is estimated that up to 5, 000 males and females will make their annual pilgrimage to the protected waters of the Dominican Republic this year. In 1986 the area was established as a "Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic" by the government and has become the winter home of nearly a third of the Atlantic Ocean's humpback whale population.
Famous for 'singing' to attract mates or to challenge other would-be suitors the songs of the Humpback whale can last up to 20 minutes and can be heard for more than 20 miles away. The male may repeat the same song dozens of times over several hours and research shows that whales in the same geographic area sing in similar "dialects."
Humpbacks are by far the major attraction, but Sperm and Pilot whales are both seen here as well, and a variety of dolphins, including Bottlenose, Rissos and Spinner all frequent the coastal waters. Cave paintings found in Samana in the Dominican Republic that date from the Taino period show that Whales have been visiting the region for at least fifteen centuries before Christopher Columbus sailed to the Caribbean in 1492.
Whale watch boats must adhere to strict government guidelines to ensure that the whales are respected in their natural habitat. These guidelines include imposing an exclusion zone for boats of 165 feet from adult whales and 270 feet from any pod of whales that include a calf.