One of the most transforming weeks I have ever enjoyed was the one spent anchored 88 miles off of the coast of the Dominican Republic. I was a passenger on an 80-foot catamaran, in an area called the Silver Banks Region, for the specific purpose of studying and swimming with humpback whales. The humpbacks migrate to the 100-square mile area of shallow water to breed every winter and spring. The Dominican Republic government has very strict rules of protection for the whales, as there should be. Neither boats nor swimmers are allowed to chase the whales. We were permitted to enter the water quietly and float. That way, the whales could decide if they would like to interact with us and many times they did.
Well, what’s it like to swim with a whale? It’s exhilarating and extraordinary. The whales would frequently bring their calves within 10-15 feet of us. The babies are over 15 feet long. The mother watches with a male escort and sometimes the whales are very playful. It was great fun to see their huge pectoral fins waving in the air. The whales would float belly up, relaxing while waving their long fins and slapping the water with them. It’s an amazing sight.
Whale energy is totally different from dolphins. Being with dolphins is like going to a party; everybody is up, happy and excited. The whales are quite different. They are reverent, and it is like going to a sacred place and being nourished to the depths of your soul. It is a wonderful feeling. The energy of the whales was such a “buzz” that it made me very sleepy the first day we were with them. There’s something about their high-frequency vibrations – they are very intense and gentle all at the same time. I wonder if we were being sonared like the dolphins do to swimmers?
My recollection of that week is that a lot of people felt a much deeper connection with God, the Divine Power, the universe, cosmic consciousness, Source, or whatever you want to call it. For me, it was like being swept into the open arms of a loving God. This trip changed me. Something happened on a psychic/cellular/physical level. I felt enlivened! Swimming eye to eye with a whale nearly the length of a school bus, in total trust, well, something magnificent stirred within. We were One. The sense of love emitted from the whale’s eye was profound and deeply soul-stirring. That interaction 88 miles from shore brought me to a new, sacred home — in my heart! I felt a connected unity with all living beings. What amazing changes!
How did the encounters take place? As I mentioned above, we anchored in the Silver Banks region in which the water is 30-40 feet deep. Our anchorage was near an old cargo ship that wrecked years ago and now serves as an artificial reef. We snorkeled around it frequently to enjoy the tropical fish. Each morning two runabouts were launched from our catamaran, and the passengers would break into groups. We would go out into different areas in the approved zone, and then after three hours, we would all meet back at the mother boat for lunch. After a rest, we would launch again in the afternoon. It was such a great natural high!
One last thing about the trip with the whales – one of my dreams came true. I wanted to experience the vibrations in the water when a whale sounded or blasted out its songs. It happened while some of my friends and I were floating above one of the “sea angels,” when all of a sudden a whale blasted a low note with great intensity. The vibrations were incredible! We all poked our heads above the water and squealed “Did you hear that?” And, “Did you feel that?” Ah… it was astounding. We left with hearts overflowing with joy and peace… and profound love for these magnificent whales.
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