Mark Etter Underwater Photography | Silver Banks 2018

This winter I traveled to the Silver Banks of the Dominican Republic to photograph humpback whales. We left from Puerto Plata and traveled 75 miles north to reach the winter breeding ground of the Atlantic humpback whale population. We spent a week tracking and photographing humpbacks from zodiacs. There were multiple whales each day and they often stopped to allow closeup encounters. Because there were so many whales this week, the mothers were less relaxed and we had some difficulty observing the baby calves in the water. I hope to return in the future to get closer pictures of the whales in the water.

Near the end of the trip, we had a thrilling and rowdy encounter with seven whales as several males competed for a single female. Our zodiac was surrounded by whales and we scrambled to watch the action. It was hard to keep the cameras dry as the whales swatted their flukes nearby. We also were able to hear the whales singing beneath our boat without having to get in the water. This was truly a great experience to share the ocean with such large and magnificent creatures!