Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type ||Description ||Cost Per Person |
|Lower Deck ||Double occupancy, twin-sized upper and lower beds, porthole window, cabins 8, 9, 10. ||$5,520 |
|Main Deck ||Double occupancy, two lower twin-sized beds, desk, chair, large windows, cabins 3, 4. ||$5,720 |
|Main Deck ||Double occupancy, queen-sized bed or two lower twin-sized beds, desk, chair, large window, cabins 5, 6, 7. ||$5,720 |
|Upper Deck ||Double occupancy, one queen-sized bed, TV, desk, chair, large window, cabins 1, 2. ||$6,020 |
Costs are per person depending on cabin type and occupancy, not including airfare, singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.
If you are a single traveler, we will find a roommate for you, but if we cannot find you a roommate, we will not charge you a single supplement. If space is available, some cabins can be booked as a single by adding 90% over the listed cabin cost.
We cannot guarantee a specific cabin number, but if changes occur, we will assign a cabin of equal or greater value.
|Payment ||Due Date ||Amount Per Person |
|Deposit ||Due now to reserve your space ||$500 |
|Second Payment ||April 1, 2022 ||$2,000 |
|Final Payment ||October 1, 2022 ||Remaining balance |
Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.
Refunds are given depending on the time left before departure according to the following table. The cancellation fee of $300 per person can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable.
|Dates ||Forfeited Amount per Person |
|On or before July 31, 2022 ||$300 |
|August 1 to August 31, 2022 ||10% of trip cost |
|September 1 to September 30, 2022 ||40% of trip cost |
|On or after October 1, 2022 ||100% of trip cost |
The Silver Bank is typically 75 to 80°F (24 to 27°C) during the day and cool enough in the morning/evenings to wear a sweatshirt or light fleece. The water temperature is usually 76 to 78°F (24 to 26°C). On a typical day, winds blow from the north to southeast about 15 knots (17mph), ranging from 0 to 25 knots; the coral formations throughout the Silver Bank provide protection from the wind and sea conditions, and February–March is the least windy time of the whale season and rain is infrequent. The crossing to and from the Silver Bank is usually calm, but we can encounter rough sea conditions. At the mooring area, you may hardly notice the ship moving, depending on the sea conditions. Because we are about 80mi offshore from the Dominican Republic on an ocean frontier, sea conditions are subjected to Mother Nature’s many moods.
Minimal fitness is required to join this whale trip, but your fitness and snorkeling ability enrich the experience. Getting in the water is not required; we’ve shared this trip with travelers who had wonderful experiences whale watching from the tenders. At minimum you need to comfortably and safely move around the ship and embark / disembark from the whale watching tenders. To get the most out of this trip you should be comfortable in the water, snorkeling, and getting in and out of the water via a boat ladder. Please contact us if you don’t have experience snorkeling but would like to join this trip. Strong swimming ability and the ability to free dive (i.e., diving underwater without scuba tanks) are not required, but will also enrich your experience, especially if you can dive to hear whales sing.
Airfare is not included in trip costs. Detailed logistical information and the contact information for our recommended flight-ticketing agent are included in the Trip Materials we will send you. Please let us know if you are arriving earlier or staying later as we are happy to assist you with any extra overnights that you might want to arrange.
Flights you (or a travel agent) book: We suggest arriving in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP) a day early on March 17, but no later than mid-afternoon on March 18. Depart from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (POP) anytime on March 25.
What is the Silver Bank?
The Silver Bank is located about 80mi north of the Dominican Republic and 100mi southeast of the Turks and Caicos Islands, and it’s one of the most important breeding and calving grounds for humpback whales in the North Atlantic Ocean. At least 5,000 humpbacks use the Silver Bank from January through early April each year. The Silver Bank Sanctuary, established in 1986, is approximately 200 sq mi (about the area of San Francisco city and county), and now part of the larger Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic.
Water visibility on the Silver Bank varies daily, but averages from 40 to 60ft around the mooring area with occasional particles suspended in the water. The wind, swells, and slight current cause run-off from the coral which determines the amount of visibility. As a whole, the Silver Bank has patchy visibility. The average water depth is approximately 80–90ft. Wind can impede whale watching, so weather will dictate the quality of activity with the whales.
What is a soft in-water encounter?
A soft in-water encounter is passive, non-aggressive floating at the surface, in mask, fins, and snorkel, allowing the humpback whales to develop an interest in you. The key is to find a cooperative, tolerant, or curious whale to meet in the water calmly and peacefully on its terms, to experience a rare and treasured encounter between you and that individual. With hundreds of voyages under their belt, our guides can interpret the behaviors of the humpbacks and tell us how to react to them above and below the water. Following instructions is key to successful interactions.
What is a typical day like on the trip?
Each morning you depart on two well-stocked rotating tenders for full days of whale observations both above and below water. Activity on the Silver Bank runs in cycles, so you’ll have slack periods that vary from day to day. Typically, you return to the ship for lunch but if you experience extraordinary activity, expect to eat lunch on the tenders. If you return to the ship for lunch, you will go back out for the afternoon action, returning to the ship in time for dinner.
Don’t let a fear of seasickness scare you away! Our vessel is moored in calm water for the duration of the week, and rarely does someone get seasick while in the tenders we watch whales from daily. The voyages to and from the Silver Bank are usually the only time motion-sensitive travelers may have issues, and our voyage out is during the evening, so most sleep through it. Although you will eventually acquire your “sea legs”, bring seasickness medication. As with all medications, do your own research and consult with your doctor before taking any drugs (even if they are over-the-counter) and especially if you are taking other drugs. Read our suggestions for coping with seasickness and contact us if you have any concerns.
Cheesemans’ Ecology Safaris is passionate about conserving the precious regions that we travel to and supports many conservation efforts. By visiting these areas, we contribute to sustainable conservation of these valuable wildlife habitats. We urge you to support conservation organizations that protect and restore natural habitats and write letters to tourism and government agencies to promote work in preserving wildlife.
We aim to make all our trips carbon neutral by splitting the cost of carbon offsetting with our participants. For your convenience, the optional donation amount for your half of the carbon offset will be indicated on your invoice. We source high quality offsets through CarbonTree Conservation Fund, a non-profit we helped found, supporting pioneering forest conservation in the Rio Bravo Reserve in Belize, a Nature Conservancy project.
Read our current Terms and Conditions.