Sperm Whale Snorkel, Island of Dominica 2024

2024 Sperm Whales Trip Report
whale photography Dominica

The 2024 Sperm Whale Snorkel was in early March during a period of settled, warm weather, with clear or partly cloud skies and only a few days of winds.  Overall it was an exceptional year with 9 out of 10 days on the weather providing us with at least one in water encounter with a sperm whale.  The crew was professional and diligent about  using their tools such as the hydrophone and their knowledge of the currents, wind, whale behavior  to find whales and multiple individuals for us to photograph.  The rules of encounters are easy to follow but strictly adhered to and when a whale became stressed by us, we were able to move on to another area. 

Our encounters are not all with Sperm whales: we had encounters  with pilot whales on multiple days.  One incredible day we had encounters with humpbacked whales and the very rare false killer whale.   Dolphins are also common to the area and like to run with our boat providing us great video action of leaping while we travel.

Sperm Whale come to the waters around the Island of Dominica in the Caribbean because the island is surrounded by a deep sea trench. Rain washes mineral rich water down from the volcanic peaks of the island which spawn squids and marine creatures creating the perfect source of food for the whales.

sperm whale snorkel face of whale close up

The resident sperm whales are mostly females in extended families of grandmothers, mothers and daughters all working together to protect and raise their young. 

boat used for snorkel with whales
Our boat has a undercover lounge space, toilet, outside shaded seating, water entry platform
Dominica nature trip
One of the waterfalls at the end of a lush rainforest hike

We encounter Sperm Whales at the surface where they are resting and often napping between their deep dives to get squid meals.  It is not unusual to get long encounters in the water with the whales since they are comfortable with us in the water if we are following best practices for in water encounters.  Even slow swimming whales pass very close to us and allow for close up images.  This very passive method yields great images.

sperm whales drone image
Two Sperm Whales swim at surface

Our captain will drop 2 guests and a guide into the water ahead of the traveling whales. As we stay still at the surface their faces immerge ahead of us in the water and grow ever larger.  Photographing away, I suddenly wonder if I should move to avoid getting hit by the whale. Just then, the whale goes into a shallow dive to pass under me. The curious intelligent creature then rolls over swimming upside down watching me as it passes, surfaces, and carries on.  They see and sense us as an obstacle and pass under or diver around to avoid us somehow never disturbing our photography.

in water whale photography trips
Mother and Calf

Our boat is comfortable and large. While this year was beautiful warm but not too hot weather, we have a salon area of the boat to seek warmth or shade if the weather is more extreme.  Plenty of area outside is shaded and allows us to spot for whales and admire the beautiful rain forested triple peaks of Dominica.

photographer trip sperm whales dominica
Sperm Whales open their mouths when investigating using their echolocation

The Island of Dominica is a nature island and is a destination for hikers and visitors who want to see the lush forest, waterfalls, volcanic peak views, and natural hot springs flowing into the many rivers.  We recommend our visitors book extra days to enjoy this rare example of an undeveloped Caribbean island with much of its land undeveloped.  Scuba and shore snorkeling are also available.  Beaches are not numerous but there are a few to enjoy.

4 species of whales at Dominica
4 Species of whales encountered in one day: Pilot Whales, False Killer Whales, Humpbacks, and Sperm Whales

The good news is that this area and its unique and valuable marine life has the attention of the world and will be further protected and extended as a Marine Reserve. 

As a result the whale watching and especially the in water encounters must go through rewriting of the permit process.  The committee workshops are ongoing between fisheries, tourism, and other organizations all driving by LOCAL  experts and stakeholders. 

mother and calf sperm whale dominica

I am confident their decisions will have the best interest of the whales in mind while leaving some opportunity to continue to offer this experience unique to Dominica for the sole benefit of the people of Dominica. 

I have requested permits for early March 2025 and I am collecting a waiting list of those serious about joining .

two sperm whale photographed while snorkeling Dominica

See details about my current Sperm Whale Snorkel in Dominica Here


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