Samana Humpback Whale Watching, Part 2

I would have had better luck earlier in the season instead of at the tail end--literally.

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Part II
Samana Whale Watching Trip

After looking for humpback whales for more than 90 minutes, we sight several spouts of exhaled breath and water and the race is on to reach one of the whales before it sounds.

Humpbacks are known as the most playful of all whales. Yet they rarely breach in this part of the world, but a succession of whales entertain us as they roll on their sides, wave their flukes, bask on the surface or vertically raise those great whale tails when they sound.

Several times we are almost eye to eye with a humpback, which is classified as only medium-sized whales. Still, they grow to an impressive 54 feet, which is longer than our 45-foot boat, and weigh as much as 29 tons.

When the Victoria II drifts within 20 to 30 yards of a large adult, it's hard to imagine ever wanting to see a bigger whale.

I'm near enough to start counting the fleshy knobs (called tubercles) on the whale's massive head, which comprises more than a third of a humpback's body. Up close, I can also easily distinguish its coloration, black on top and white on the bottom.

We are with whales for less than an hour of our 3-hour trip but I am well satisfied. I've seen more humpbacks here and gotten closer to them than I ever did on several Alaskan whale-watching trips.

And in Samana I do it on a bright sunny day where the wintertime temperature always hovers somewhere in the 80s.

I can't ask for more; well, maybe a breach or two.

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