Dolphin & Whale Encounters
The Turks & Caicos Islands are truly blessed given the number of whales and dolphins we see throughout the year, both inside the reef (in the shallows) and off shore (outside the reef) in the big blue.
We make a habit and a concerted effort to always try and get in the water with these amazing mammals.
Our most famous dolphin, JoJo, is a legend in his own right and has been cruising our shores, surfing boat wakes, surprising divers and playing with swimmers for close to four decades. He is a Bottlenose dolphin and is frequently seen between Grace Bay and Parrot Cay. His scarred body makes him easy to identify and he has also been seen to commune with other blue water dolphins out in the ocean.
Over the years it seems JoJo has had mates and offspring. Most recently it is very common to find JoJo hanging around a mother and an amazingly curious tiny female calf (Bo and Scooter). The young ones’ behaviour is uncannily similar to how JoJo was in the late 80’s and 90’s, allowing for some truly amazing and extremely close encounters.
There are numerous pods of Bottlenose dolphins that live on the Caicos Bank which we sometimes see on our way to West, French or South Caicos. More common are the larger open ocean pods of both Bottlenose and Atlantic Spotted dolphins which we see on our snorkel and dive adventures.
In the winter months we sometimes see pods of Pilot Whales, large, muscular dolphins, second only in size to Killer Whales. These deep divers, cruise past our drop offs looking for squid and other denizens of the deep.
By far the most common whales to visit these islands, they pass outside our reefs during the latter stages of their annual mating and calving migration to the tropics, from December to April. At 30-45’ long, these stunning leviathans are the highlight of our season and year. To see them is one thing, to swim with them will take your breath away.
Every once in a while, if we are really lucky, we might see Sperm Whales or Bottlenosed whales. Both are rarely seen here, and both are able to dive extremely deeply, hence surface sightings are few and far between.
Encounters – soft in water
We are always on the lookout for dolphins and whales and always want to try and see if we can swim with them. As always, when it comes to mother nature, we don’t always get what we want, when we want. Guarantees of seeing much less swimming with them is pointless. They are wild and that’s what makes any encounter so utterly compelling and addictive.
Our approach is, if we don’t try, we’ll never know. While JoJo and his companions are fairly easy (relatively) to “encounter”, open ocean experiences range from boat only viewing to full on in water encounters. More often than not, dolphins will put on a surface show. In water, they might come to check us out and if interested, stay. If not, they swiftly move on and the show is over.
Humpback whales on the other hand, are a whole different ball game. During peak activity of the winter months, we “bend” all our snorkel, dive and private boat charter trips to increase our chances of finding and seeing them. Our team are seasoned experts in how to correctly approach whales and more significantly are often able to get our guests in water to see them. There are however, NO GUARANTEES, except for trying. It is a waiting game, that requires patience and respect. We don’t chase whales! We watch and learn to make the right move. Sometimes that means, leaving them alone. Sometimes it means gambling and sometimes it means joining them on their swim. If you get to see them you are super fortunate, if you swim with them you will never forget the experience. Join us.
Best trip options – Edge of the Banks, Snorkel Ecotour, diving or any private charter (half or full day)
What to bring and what to wear
Mask, fins & snorkel
We provide them (cressi), you can always bring your own
Sometimes a good idea in winter,
we also can offer these
Excellent sun protection, more reliable than sunscreen as you don’t have to reapply. We sell these
highly recommended but it must be 100% bio degradeable. We do sell an excellent variety
A hat is always a good idea
when on the ocean
sunglasses are also very useful in the tropical glare
Drink lots and stay hydrated.
We provide water
Is of course a great way to
capture the magic.
You can’t have
enough of them.
A long sleeve top to keep you warm is always a good idea after a long day on the boat