Can You Swim with Humpback Whales? Yes, You Can!

Ever thought about swimming with whales? Well, amazingly enough you can do this in certain parts of the world. Whether this is a good idea or not is another question.

Look at how small this woman is compared to the whale and calf.

I am a pretty adventurous person, but I have to admit this encounter makes me a little nervous. The problem is these bad boys are HUGE! Humpback whales can grow to 50 feet long. I feel like I need to say that again. Humpback whales are 50 feet long!!

Have you ever seen whales breach? Or tail slap? Seems to me these “gentle giants” could easily flip a person right back into the boat! On the other hand they have no teeth, so there is little chance you will be eaten. Good news there.

Humpback Whale Breaching

Whale Breaching (Wikipedia)

I remember how terrifying it was when a humpback whale dove under my raft in Maui. All I could think about was what will we do if he breaks the surface under the raft! Fortunately that guy came up on the other side of us, but I got a real appreciation for how beautiful and truly massive they are.

Still want to try swimming with humpback whales? The two most popular places are Tonga and the Dominican Republic. In Tonga, swim with whales boat tours travel around the islands of Vava’u. The whales migrate to Tonga from Antarctica and are there from July to November. This is their breeding ground, so lots of calves will be around.

In the Caribbean, the best swim location is the Silver Bank (70 miles from the Dominican Republic and about the same distance from Turks and Caicos). The Silver Bank is part of a larger sanctuary for mammals, and is also a breeding ground.  The tour operators promote what is called “soft in-water encounters”. What this means is that persons wanting to spend time with the whales must float and not swim, stick together in a group, use snorkels not scuba gear, and let the whales approach them.

What do you think? Are you brave enough to try swimming with whales?


About wherethedolphinsswim

I've been vacationing with wild dolphins for more than 20 years. You can do it too!
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