What's a Soft-In-Water-Encounter?
Participants in a Soft-In-Water Encounter may use mask, snorkel
and fins; but no SCUBA or rebreather equipment of any type is
allowed. In a Soft-In-Water encounter there is no aggressive
swimming or freediving. Participants are also required to stay
together as a group.
So though it is commonly referred to as "swimming with whales,"
there is little swimming involved! By entering the water quietly,
and floating peacefully as a group, the participants minimize
any disturbance to the whales, and then allow the whale to
choose to approach or not. It is an encounter in their environment,
on their terms.
"Passengers regularly report
that being in the water with these magnificent creatures
is one of the highlights of their lives." Read
~ Flying Adventures May/June 2010
Location: Silver Bank,
Hispaniola, the second largest island in all the
Antilles, is shared by the nations of Haiti and the Dominican
Republic with the DR occupying the eastern two thirds. Lying
70 miles north of the coast, the Silver Bank is part of The
Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Domincan Republic. It
is here, in a designated anchorage, that the Sun Dancer II moors
for the duration of your visit. Tenders take our small group
in search of whales each day. Sun Dancer II is one of only three
vessels to hold a permit to bring visitors into Sanctuary waters.
Only 60 visitors are permitted each week and regulations to
ensure the integrity of the Sanctuary and safety of the whales
are carefully followed.
Trips to Silver Bank are offered annually, from early February
through late March. All trips board on Saturday at 5:00PM and
disembark the following Saturday at 8:30AM. The 138 ft M/V Sun
Dancer II can comfortably accommodate 18 passengers.
Master Stateroom $3645 per person* Deluxe Stateroom
$3500 per person* (*Note: Price doesn't include airfare, tourist
card, departure tax, fuel surcharge, ground transportation,
dinner final night or suggested 10% tip to crew.)
The M/V Sun Dancer II
The M/V Sun Dancer II features four decks, three of which are
passenger decks. All decks are spacious, comfortable, and well
appointed, with air conditioning in all interior areas.
M/V Sun Dancer II sleeps a maximum of 18 guests. There are two
Master Staterooms and seven Deluxe Staterooms. Each stateroom
has en suite facilities, individual climate controls, picture
windows and flat screen TV with DVD player. In addition a mirrored
cabinet, wardrobe, bathrobes, hairdryer, toiletries, and fresh
towels daily are provided. Electricity throughout is 110 volts
AC, provided from US style outlets.
The spacious Dive Deck features two freshwater
showers, warm fresh towels, a water fountain, and separate rinse
tanks for cameras and snorkel gear. For the photographer, there
are two large camera tables, and all guests have their own dedicated
A complete line of modern marine electronics contribute
to the safety features of the vessel.
Travel to the Dominican
American citizens need a passport good for 6 months and a DR
round trip ticket as well as purchasing a Tourist Card at the
airport of entry. A visa may be required if you wish to stay
longer. Citizens of other countries should check with authorities
What Do I Need to Bring?
You'll need to bring your own mask, snorkel and fins, or plan
on renting. You may also wish to bring or rent a wetsuit. Shorts,
t-shirts, bathing suits, sweater, and wind breaker should be
adequate for the week on board. Don't forget personal toiletries,
sunscreen and meds, sunglasses, hat, camera, good book and a
notebook and pen. Remember, this is a week long live-aboard
adventure and you should feel very comfortable on the water.
We suggest purchasing trip cancellation insurance and also dive
insurance which covers snorkeling.
Captain Gene Flipse
With a lifetime of experience on the water, Capt. Gene Flipse
has been a US Coast Guard licensed captain for over eighteen
years. Capt. Flipse holds a 100 Ton Near Coastal Master's License,
as well as STCW 95 Certification (Standards of Training, Certification
and Watchkeeping). A career professional, Gene has spent the
last twelve years as captain aboard live aboard dive boats operating
on the waters of Florida; the Bahamas; and the Sanctuary for
the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic on the Silver Bank.
Arrive Cofresi/Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Check in at
5PM at Ocean World Marina, Cofresi. You will be given cabin
assignments; vessel safety & operations orientations and dinner.
11PM departure for Silver Bank.
Vessel arrives on the Silver Bank and gets operation set up.
Snorkeling & Humpback Whale orientations. Afternoon excursion
in tenders, sundowner celebration and evening activities.
DAY THREE - DAY SIX
Whale excursions daily in the tenders and full days snorkeling,
soft-in-water encounters with the Humpback Whales. Sundowner
celebrations each night and evening activities showing slideshows,
discussion of sightings, etc.
Depart Silver Bank early AM. Vessel arrives Ocean World Marina,
Cofresi approx. 4:30PM, vessel and passengers clear DR customs
& immigration. Free time to explore ashore, shop and get dinner
(not included in package).
Continental Breakfast on vessel. 8:30AM guests disembark vessel.
You may decide to explore the resort areas of Cofresi/Puerto
Plata before heading home with incredible memories of your Humpback