A vacation in the Turks and Caicos Islands doesn’t have to be all about diving. North Atlantic Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), those huge and graceful animals that we have seen on TV documentaries or read about in magazines such as National Geographic, only migrate once a year. These mammals leave their icy waters in the winter, where they have been feeding, and head south to the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. Here, they mate and give birth to their calves.
If you want to be one of the lucky individuals who get to see the whales up close, then consider heading down to the islands of Turks and Caicos. From the deck of the Bohio Dive Resort’s bar you may watch them splash and cavort right before your eyes.
And so it begins…
As soon as fall begins, as many as 7000 Humpback Whales travel from the North Atlantic region (from New England, the Maritime provinces of Canada, Labrador, Greenland, Iceland and even Norway) and they start to head south. Humpback Whales must give birth to their young in warm waters because when the calves are born they lack the extra protective layer of blubber necessary to protect them from the cold and to survive in the icy waters of the Arctic.
A fascinating fact is that not all whales migrate simultaneously. Researchers believe that when large quantities of prey are available, younger whales find the food far more irresistible than the urge to migrate, as there’s little for them to do when they arrive to the breeding grounds.
Turks and Caicos is perfectly placed
The Turks and Caicos Islands are in the middle of the migratory journey of these gentle giants of the sea. It is at this time that they are seen from the deck of Bohio Dive Resort’s bar. According to the resort’s personnel, the best times of the year to observe the whales is between late January through early April, and they would know, as they see the whales year after year.
Bohio’s dive staff all agree that, “The opportunity for divers to hear whale song during their stay is extremely high during whale season, and is not unheard of to spot a whale during your dive, so we always recommend divers keep one eye out on the ‘blue’ away from the Wall.”
What do guests say?
Comments from past guests of Bohio Dive Resort (on Trip Advisor) speak for themselves:
“From February through April, a major attraction on Grand Turk is the humpback whales that migrate through the Grand Turk channel. Our visit was from January 29th to February 5th, so we were there just as the migration season began. We spotted whales from the beach on some mornings and evenings (around 8am and 5pm). The real treat was the group of whales that put on a great show for us on our way out to a mid-morning dive just 100-200 yards from the dive boat. We also heard the whales vocalizing during several dives, but were never lucky enough to see them underwater.” Scuba81
“What keeps us coming back (we just completed our 3rd trip to Bohio and are planning our 4th.)… Love to see dolphins, whales, turtles, rays, millions of fish and healthy reefs when you dive…” CBC0525
“A friend of mine once described her first morning ever at Bohio. She was quietly enjoying breakfast right there on the beach when suddenly she looked up to discover dozens of whales migrating right before her very eyes! Turns out there is a shallow channel just off Bohio’s beach that provides its guests with front row seats of migrating whales each Spring.” Shagdoggie
“We even saw whales breaching just off shore one night!” NewYorker99
“We did hear Humpback Whales singing on several dives, which was a real treat.” Saholz