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Swim With Whales on Spring Yacht Charter

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Photograph of a whale breaching next to a catamaran sailboat. The whale is on the right side of the screen. The catamaran is on the left side of the screen. The whale is breaching toward the left side of the screen. The water is dark.

Breaching whale on yacht charter vacation


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.

Collage of photographs. To the left is the catamaran, Necker Belle. She is headed toward the lower left side of the photo. Top right is a man wearing snorkel gear and seated on the back of the sailboat, as if ready to go into the water. Below right is an aerial photo of Necker Belle Island in the Caribbean.

Necker Belle catamaran whale watching


From January to March, humpback whales mate and calve in the Silver Bank, before migrating to colder waters.  According to Jana Sheeder, President of 1-800 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 accommodate for 8 guests.  The master cabin features a queen bed on the back wall.  Two VIP staterooms can convert from double to twin berths. The fourth cabin offers a double bed. 

All staterooms offer ensuite bathrooms. 

Two more guests can be accommodated in the saloon, where the sofa converts to a double bed. 


The two aft deck sun pads can be transformed into outdoor berths, which are removable tent-style structures with outdoor element protection.  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 leave the yacht on an inflatable raft, led by naturalist guide Tom CONLIN, to go closer.  Snorkeling is not possible sometimes. For instance, when two males are fighting for territory or a few males are trying to impress a female whale.  Calves are curious and non-aggressive.  Snorkelers approach them using slow, gentle movements.

Underwater photograph of a woman in black and white wetsuit and black mask swimming with a whale beside her. She is wearing black flippers. The whale is above her and to the right. They are swimming toward the right side of the photo. The woman is looking at the camera (front of photograph).

Swimming with Whales on yacht charter


“Being in the water and seeing a whale is a life-changing experience,” says Sheeder.  “You’ll never forget it.”


Where to Swim With Whales?

For reservation information to swim with whales in the Caribbean, contact 1-800 Yacht Charters at

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Video Of Charter Yacht SuRi In Raja Ampat Islands

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OK, we’ll admit it – when Dee Kraley, manager of motor yacht SuRi, first invited us onboard the former oil rig supply boat, we were skeptical. Was it really possible to take an old ship built in 1978 by Halter Marine, cut her in half to extend her overall length from the middle, and transform her into a modern expedition yacht charter vessel?



After two extensive rebuilds and a 2016 refit, the answer is a resounding, “YES!”  The “old supply ship” is indeed one of the most luxurious charter yachts available in her size and price category.



Adding 11 meters to her overall length significantly boosted her volume, both indoors and on deck.

Yacht SuRi underway



Yet more impressive than her transformation is her owner’s commitment to creating the ultimate adventure travel vessel in the charter market.



While most superyachts carry  a respectable  inventory of watersports gear, this yacht takes it to another level – with multiple tenders,  a helicopter, seaplane, jet skis, hoverboard, scuba diving equipment, quadskis, and so much more. Twenty (20) active, athletic crewmembers add to the neverending fun, excitement, and adventure enjoyed by charter guests.



So where do you base a yacht filled-to-the-brim with toys?  It must be a destination with endless opportunities for exploration and water-themed adventure. The answer?  The South Pacific and the islands of Fiji, French Polynesia, and Indonesia.



A favorite anchorage for yacht SuRi and her charter guests are the islands of Raja Ampat, an archipelago of 1500 islands located off the northwest tip of New Guinea. Marine life thrives here, and the bio-diversity is unlike anywhere else in the world – with hundreds of species of corals and reef fish, along with whales, dolphins, and giant rays.



Check out this amazing action-packed yacht charter video of motoryacht SuRi and her onboard guests enjoying the breathtaking beauty of Raja Ampat:

Come enjoy The Superyacht Experience onboard motor yacht SuRi.   Available summer 2018 in French Polynesia and Fiji, and priced at $350,000 per week  (plus operating expenses like food and fuel) for up to 12 guests.  Click HERE for further information…



WHAT’S IN A NAME?  No, she is not owned by Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes or daughter, Suri.  Her name, SuRi, is the combination of her owners’ first names.  Just in case you were wondering…  😉

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