I'd come to the Dominican Republic to watch whales, so first I went online and booked several trips with Whale Samana, who seemed to be a professional company run by an American marine biologist. The area to watch whales was Samana bay, which is in the North-East of the country, well away from tourist areas. An online hotel search showed a number of rough-looking places in Samana town, with one luxury resort located 8km outside town but they were offering ridiculously low rates so I booked there, I needed a car anyway. On arrival at Santo Domingo airport I collected my rent-a-wreck (and this one really was!) and drove around to Samana, a five hour journey that went OK apart from collecting a speeding ticket and roadside fine from a couple of policemen who were determined to fleece this gringo.
When I arrived at the hotel they gave me a little apartment with a balcony overlooking the bay, and as has happened so often on this trip, I seemed to be the only guest! I don't know how these places manage to keep going, especially when they were charging me less than a run-down hostel in town.
|View from hotel balcony|
Bright and early next morning I was at the marina for my first boat trip. I climbed to the upper deck of the boat and found a seat up front near the captain. Sitting next to me was a young lady, holding a camera with the longest lens I have ever seen! I got out my battered Nikon coolpix and she started laughing. So Eva and I came to an agreement that I would just watch whales, and she'd let me have any nice photos; the next few photos are therefore courtesy of Eva. Within ten minutes or so from leaving the harbour, we came upon a pair of humpback whales, a mother and young baby. The baby was in a frisky mood, it kept coming near to us & the other two boats in the vicinity, jumping out of the water (breaching), slapping its tail and generally having a good time.
|That looks pretty big!|
|Baby whale 'breaching'|
|Baby whale tail slap|
|Bloody Hell thats huge!|
|Mother starting to breach|
|Yeah, another deserted beach!|
The rest of the time I just hung around the hotel - there was a nice pool and a private beach, and I was the only person there!
|My own private beach!|
Eventually it was time to leave - I'd left England on the 6th December with a return flight via Miami on 21st March - long enough time away, I reckon.
My only regret was that I'd felt ill for much of the trip, nothing specific, just 'under the weather'. When I finally arrived home I decided to visit a doctor; seemed I needed an immediate operation 'down there' so Wednesday 27th I was in hospital. I'm home now, feeling pretty uncomfortable but glad to be able to share these photos with you. 'Ciao'