Moments of a lifetime caught on camera : Snorkelling side by side with the sperm whales of the eastern Caribbean Sea

by   Profile Franco and Sabrina   When 29th November 2016
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Freediver swimming with mother and calf sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus, Vulnerable (IUCN), Dominica, Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean.
Photo taken under permit n°RP 13/365 W-03.

This
post starts our contribution to the Mares blog, to which we are absolutely
grateful, and our
first post is about the sperm whales of the Caribbean Sea : one of the few places in
the world which we regularly return to.


Next
January we will go back to Dominica
Island for the fifth year in a row. Why ?


Not only because
Dominica Island is like “the” picture postcard of a Caribbean paradise :
lush tropical forest, fragrant flowers, perfectly shaped double rainbows,
sparkling blue seas, friendly smiling, beautiful people, Creole dance music,
delicious fresh fruits or long-drinks and fine foods.


But because
it is the vacation fantasy that we all yearn for : several pods (matriarchal
linear families) of resident sperm whales live just a few miles off its western
coast and are easily approachable (under governmental permit) just an inch from the surface of warm, clear blue water.


Sperm
whales hold many natural world records and are powerful predators. One of the
reasons why they have chosen to stay close to the sheltered inner coast of Dominica
Island is that its sits at the intersection of grinding tectonic plates and has
ridgelines that drop off steeply under the ocean’s surface. Sperm whales are located
using hydrophones and are found on the surface along underwater topography
about 1,000 metres deep, where their prey (large squids) live.


Over the years,
sperm whales of the eastern Caribbean Sea have
been well studied by academic researchers who have highlighted the complexity of the
social behaviour of these giants.


The pods of
the eastern Caribbean Sea are family groups
with rich and varied social lives. A typical family consists of about seven
individuals and can span three generations of females. Males mostly live
solitary lives. Living in groups offers protection from predatory killer
whales, which hunt young sperm whales.


For short
periods, sperm whale groups also socialise with other families. They typically spend just a few days together before going their separate ways.


 


Are you
interested in snorkelling side by side with these giants ?


If you need
help, we have organized a tour for
early 2017


To read
something about our previous expeditions , click the links here below :


Trip
report 2016


Trip report
2015


Trip report
2014


Trip
report 2013


To see more about our activities, don't forget
to follow us on our webpage , Facebook and Instagram, or sign up for our newletters.


 

Written by
Profile Franco and Sabrina
Date
When 29th November 2016
Where
Location Dominica

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COMMENTS
Franco & Sabrina on Jan 04th 2017
Grazie Marco e marco
Marco on Dec 24th 2016
Franco sono davero belle!
Greg on Dec 12th 2016
Nice, I would like to swim with whales once. ;)
marco on Dec 06th 2016
Really nice photos!!
Sabrina and Franco on Sep 21st 2016
Thanks Stefan and Herbert for your kind thoughts . We are really glad to Mares and proud to have the opportunities of sharing our stories and of reading the subjects of other so esteemed colleagues . Mares did and are doing a great job in moderate this blog. Thanks !!
Herbert on Sep 21st 2016
Great to see you here, Sabrina & Franco.
Stefan Michl on Sep 20th 2016
Dear Franco, dear Sabrina, we are very happy and proud to find you here on our blog page. Your stories are just wonderful to read.... Keep on posting!

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