The biggest highlight of snorkeling during a Caribbean yacht charter is usually swimming among schools of fish, or seeing sea turtles and sting rays from afar. However, one charter yacht hopes to offer visitors the chance to frolic with a much larger marine animal.
Richard Branson’s yacht, the sail catamaran NECKER BELLE, is offering two humpback whale watching charters this spring in the Silver Bank, a region in the Atlantic midway between Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic.
From January to March, humpback whales mate and calve in the Silver Bank, before migrating to colder waters. According to Jana Sheeder, President of SailAway Yacht Charters, “you can slip into the water and snorkel with the calves as their mothers watch from a safe distance below.”
Two weeklong expeditions are scheduled on the 105′ catamaran NECKER BELLE, owned by adventurer and business tycoon Sir Richard Branson. Charterers may choose either 16 – 23 February or 8 – 15 March, 2012.
Launched in 2003 and rebuilt in 2009 at Azzura Yachts, Australia, the sail yacht NECKER BELLE was a finalist in the World Superyacht Awards 2010 in the “Best Refitted Yacht” Category. The yacht received a Judges’ Special Commendation.
Four guest cabins provide accommodation for 8 guests. The master cabin offers a queen bed. Two VIP staterooms can convert from double to twin berths. The fourth cabin offers a double bed. All staterooms offer ensuite bathrooms. An additional 2 guests can be accommodated in the saloon – the sofa converts to a double bed. For the adventurous the two aft deck sun pads can be transformed into outdoor berths (removable tent-style structures protect guests from the elements) – great for those wishing to sleep under the stars! A shower is available in the day head for those using the outdoor berths or saloon.
The price per week is $130,000 and includes the yacht, professional crew, and the guidance of whale expert Tom Conlin of Aquatic Adventures. Running expenses such as food, bar, and fuel are extra.
When whales are sighted, charterers will have the opportunity to leave the yacht NECKER BELLE on an inflatable raft, led by naturalist guide Tom CONLIN, to get close to the whales. There are a few situations in which snorkeling is not possible, like when two males are fighting for territory or a few males are trying to impress a female whale. But the calves are very curious and non-aggressive, and snorkelors are taught to approach them using slow, gentle movements.
“Being in the water and seeing a whale is a life-changing experience,” says Sheeder. “You’ll never forget it.”
For reservation information to swim w
ith whales in the Caribbean, contact SailAway Yacht Charters at http://www.1800sailaway.com/contact_us.html today.
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