Salt Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands is in the middle of the humpback whale’s annual migratory route to the Silver Banks, a humpback mating and nursery area, north of the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea. It is a 75 square mile shallow coral reef area, an underwater plateau of limestone. It is believed that the whales choose this area for birthing and nursing because of the numerous coral heads which break the surface providing protection from ocean swells. Some estimates show 3,000-5,000 humpback whales passing through the waters of the Silver Banks between December and mid-April each year, making it the largest breeding and calving grounds, often called a nursery, in the world.Great Sand Cay, about 9 miles south of Salt Cay, has been the “emergency room” to many expecting humpback whales through the years. Humpback whales born in the waters around Great Sand Cay and their mothers as well as other humpback whales are often spotted both by passengers on boats and from the shores of Salt Cay.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Salt Cay, Humpback Whale Sightings
Yesterday was a fantastic whale watching day - no need to even get in a boat to watch the humpback whales heading South. Starting at about 7AM, whales (at least six different sightings) where spotted off the North West side of the island... more spotted about 9:30AM further South but still off the West side of the island and then in the afternoon... It was fantastic! A few boats where in the water getting up closer to the whales too.