Deep Seas and a Great Whale Show

Traveling by water from the BVIs to the Turks and Caicos brought us over the Puerto Rico Trench. This 800 kilometer long trench marks the boundary between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and has a maximum depth of 8600 meters.

“So if we dropped Mount Everest in the water here we’d only have to climb 200 m high to get to the top?”

This idea pleased the monkies a great deal. It is always a strange feeling while at sea to realize that the closest land is straight down under the water. It becomes even more disconcerting or awe inspiring, depending upon your mood, when that land is over 8 kilometers away. We are generally very careful not to throw anything overboard that does not belong in the water, but we made a small and naughty exception and let Emma and Macsen throw a coin overboard and make a wish. Then we had great fun calculating how long it would take for the coin to hit the bottom. There is a gravitational anomaly in the trench that weakens the pull and there was a little current so it would probably drift a bit…taking many factors into account we guesstimated that it would take about 6 hours (if it wasn’t gulped up by a fish) to hit the bottom. What kind of exotic creatures will it find down there?

And from this great depth we traveled just 40 nautical miles to sail over the Navidad Bank and then the Silver Bank. The Silver Bank is a 1680 square kilometer bank with an average depth of about 25 meters. In the middle of the ocean! Right next to the deepest part of the Atlantic. What an incredible landscape lies beneath the ocean where hidden mountains soar from 25 meters down to deep valleys of 8600 meters within a few miles.

The Silver Bank is a breeding and calving ground for around
3000 humpback whales that migrate down from the Arctic.

And let me tell you that when these magnificent beasts start to get flirtatious they put on an extremely rambunctious show. Tail slapping, fins flapping and great bursting breeches out of the water. All in the very shallow depths of the Silver Bank. There were hundreds of whales frolicking like puppies all around us in a giant bathtub and although the targets of their antics were clearly not us we felt like the audience of a very special private show. After bobbing around for a couple of hours we finally decided to drop the anchor. What an incredible feeling to anchor your boat in a bathtub fully of incredibly active, playful whales. We even dared to have a little swim.

Amazing. Breathtaking. Unforgettable. We love whales.

And the 3rd momentous event from this trip is that we have covered 10,000 nautical miles (18,520 km) since leaving Amsterdam in July.


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