TURKS & CAICOS WHALE WATCHING CHARTERS
Many Turks and Caicos whale watching enthusiasts come and stay with us for a week on Salt Cay. Pirates Hideaway Guesthouse offers vacations that include Turks and Caicos whale watching and Salt Cay accommodation.
SALT CAY DAY TOURS
We welcome cruise ship visitors to Grand Turk to hop over to Salt Cay for a day's outing. Other visitors to Turks and Caicos Islands are invited to fly from Providenciales and Grand Turk to Salt Cay to participate in this fabulous whale show from mother nature. Day tours and overnighters will be arranged, from interisland flights to meals, golf cart transportation and even overnight accommodation if you please. Just contact us over here on Salt Cay and we'll have it all set up for you!
Turks & Caicos Whale Watching - Caribbean Humpback Whales
THE MAGNIFICENT HUMPBACK WHALE
Energetic, vigorous, bubbly and inquisitive these majestic rorquals of the sea pass by the shores off Salt Cay British West Indies on their way to the breeding grounds. It is during the mating season that divers and snorkelers delight in the long and complex songs of the males as they presumably whale and sing mating songs to their better halves. Very social they regularly travel in groups of two or more and you often see the whales with their calves.
Anyway at close range they are easily distinguished by their exceptionally long flippers, knobbly head and the white and black coloration on the underside of the fluke(tail). They have a much more rounded and dare I say it, voluptuous body then other whales with an area of white on its back or belly. And if you want to count the baleen plates found on each side of the upper jaw they total between 270 and 400. Caribbean Turks and Caicos whale watching -- just another way to spend the day on Salt Cay!
Yes indeed what majestic creatures. They can grow in size up to 15m....I know, I know, someone has to find a converter for us less mathematically inclined. That's somewhere around 50 feet and probably why scientists and other brainy individuals without a speech impediment refer to them as MEGAAPTERA NOVAEANGLIAE. Now, I want you to say that 10 times backwards!
They grow to 50 feet of course and live to 70 plus if they first survive human disturbances, prey depletion, pollution, hunting, entanglement in nets and collisions with vessels. Thousands upon thousands were wiped out by commercial whalers but luckily since 1966 they are now under the protection of the Whaling Commission .
Declared an endangered species we in Turks and Cacios Islands must all do our best to respect our "brothers" of the sea. Salt Cay whale watchers are fascinated by their antics. The humpback whale loves to flipper slap, breach, lobtail and generally frolic sometimes close to a boat which they approach out of natural curiosity.
When we go on a Turks and Caicos whale watching expedition it is important to remember that these grand and noble mammals deserve respect and are not a sideshow but a rare opportunity and unique experience to observe them in their natural environment. On this we must stand united and as we all well know "United We Stand" is a catch phrase that covers a lot of ground these days!
Humpback Whale - Megaptera novaeangliae
Humpback whales in the Southern Hemisphere are proving to be different from those north of the equator (the northern species is known as M. n. angliae). The Turks and Caicos Humpback Whale is unlike any other Rorqual. The body is robust and narrows rapidly in front of the huge tail flukes. The head is broad and rounded, but the median ridge is indistinct and has been replaced by a string of fleshy knobs. Two further lines are arranged along the jaws.
The fin is small and varies in shape from triangular to shark-like. It is set two-thirds of the way back and mounted on a fleshy platform unlike that of any other Baleen whale. The most characteristic feature of the humpback is its enormous flippers. They are almost a third of total body length, about 5 metres (16 feet) long and heavily scalloped.
Length: 12-15 metres (40-60 feet) Life span 70-80 years.
The whale's colour is generally blackish with a white area covering the throat grooves. It has broad flukes with highly scalloped edges, moderately notched. The underside of the flukes are marked with a variable pattern of white, making each whale recognisable at the surface as it throws its tail into the air. The flippers are mottled black and white with white underneath.
The blow is distinctive, seldom more than 3 metres high (10 feet) and is a single, straight column that spreads at the top, like the spout of a fountain. Breathing sequence usually involves 2 or 3 minutes at the surface, blowing once every 20-30 seconds, followed by a deep 'humpbacked' dive for 3-28 minutes. The fin is seldom seen until the high, rolling dive brings the hump into view before sounding. In warmer water, the number of breaths taken between dives is reduced from an average of 6 to 3.
Humpbacks often leap clear of the water, usually in an arching back flip, which brings the pale pleats of the throat into view. These whales can often be found lying motionless on the surface with one flipper hoisted like a sail. This raised flipper can slap the water hard, producing a noise like a gun shot. An even louder sound can be made by bringing the tail down sharply upon the water surface. This is called a lobtail.
Turks & Caicos Islands
BEAUTIFUL BY NATURE is the National slogan of the Turks and Caicos Islands which is rumored were discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and now some 500 years later is being “rediscovered” as one of the fasted growing travel destinations in the Caribbean.
Famous for her secluded beaches, crystal clear turquoise blue waters, un spoilt reefs and dramatic walls this archipelago has some of the best diving and snorkeling in the world.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are one of the last remaining British Colonies and located some 575 miles southeast of Miami Florida with the Bahamas about 30 miles to the Northwest and the Dominican Republic some 100 miles to the Southeast.
The country consists of two groups of islands, the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands which are separated by a 22-mile passage called the Columbus Passage. To the west are the Caicos group: West Caicos , Providenciales , North Caicos, East Caicos and South Caicos. To the east are the Turks group: Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
How to find Salt Cay
Look on the map of the Turks and Caicos Islands shown above. The small island of Salt Cay is in the lower left quadrant, south of South Caicos and south of Grand Turk. Salt Cay is located east of Ambergris Cays. We welcome you to visit our tiny island community, come diving, whale watching, snorkeling, meet the local people and wander the miles of white sand beaches. We look forward to greeting you soon on Salt Cay!.