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Dominica Sperm Whale Trips - November


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#1 loftus

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Posted 17 August 2010 - 11:24 AM

We are planning 2 one week trips to Dominica in November to photograph sperm whales. Trip dates are 6-13 and 13-20 of November. 6 individuals per trip, possibility of signing for 2 weeks.
Arrival on Saturday with first day optional diving, followed by 5 days of whale action with in water encounters / snorkeling only. The possibility of replacing the diving day with a whale day exists.
Accommodation at 4 Star Fort Young Hotel 7 nights included.
As whale encounter permits in Dominica are issued primarily for research, participants MUST be amenable to providing photographs that document these in water encounters in accordance with a research protocol presently submitted to the Division of Fisheries in Dominica. These images are 100% for non-commercial purposes.
Approximate cost $3000 -$3500 depending on room single / double occupancy and room upgrades. Does not include local hotel taxes and airfare.
As we are operating at fairly short notice, 50% deposit will be required initially with Name and Passport information as each individual must be recorded on the permit.
Full payment by October 15th.
Please email me at jeff@waterworldimages.com or pm me for more information.

Edited by loftus, 17 August 2010 - 05:05 PM.

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#2 loftus

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Posted 19 August 2010 - 01:35 PM

March trips added 3/06-12 and 3/13 - 3/20.


March 3/6-12 now full.

Edited by loftus, 19 August 2010 - 01:36 PM.

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#3 loftus

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:20 AM

We have been able to get better hotel rates for November, making the cost $2700 per person plus transfers ($30 per person, each way).
The week of November 6-13 is available, but these rates predicated on 6 people.
Also can add that the hotel has a house reef, so you can dive this every day after the boat trip.

Edited by loftus, 16 September 2010 - 12:48 PM.

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#4 rtrski

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:51 PM

Didn't think Ft. Young had a 'house reef'. Are they actually letting you dive off the reef along the Dive Dominica/Anchorage shoreline a bit further south, since I think DD is the dive op for Ft. Young?

Just curious, not intending to criticize in any way. Did the Anchorage house reef only once while down there a couple years back and really wish I'd done it more. It was surprisingly nice. Sandy boulder field full of grass eels gradually morphing to an actual reef, and almost no current.

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Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#5 loftus

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:44 PM

Didn't think Ft. Young had a 'house reef'. Are they actually letting you dive off the reef along the Dive Dominica/Anchorage shoreline a bit further south, since I think DD is the dive op for Ft. Young?

Just curious, not intending to criticize in any way. Did the Anchorage house reef only once while down there a couple years back and really wish I'd done it more. It was surprisingly nice. Sandy boulder field full of grass eels gradually morphing to an actual reef, and almost no current.

The new lower hotel price is for the Anchorage, not Fort Young. This is at least for the November trip. Sorry I should have added that; the higher price is Fort Young.

Edited by loftus, 16 September 2010 - 02:45 PM.

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#6 rtrski

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:21 PM

No worries...wish I could sign up. And at least I can attest the Anchorage was pretty nice diving (we liked the hotel too, but we did stay before they got a little battered I think season before last. Don't believe I heard they took any significant damage, from what I heard from Izzy.)

Best wishes for a great trip, and my undying envy... :D

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#7 nudibranch

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 05:01 AM

Rilski,

Wait for the photos (Images Dominica on facebook), though this is NOT an Images Dominica venture.

You'll be back, I know, I have been warned.
Izzy

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Roseau
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#8 loftus

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 06:21 AM

I wish to add to this post in the name of full disclosure, as Eric has added a Wetpixel trip to Dominica in February, and of course there may be comparisons in terms of the costs of the Wetpixel trips to ours as advertised. I did discuss the trips with Eric prior to posting this thread. The trips I am organizing are not strictly speaking commercial ventures, but are actually designed to fulfill a research photography protocol in order to fulfill permit requirements for Dominican Sperm Whales as well of course to allow serious photographers to benefit.
I have completed two trips to Dominica, and my understanding of permit requirements is that they are not meant for simple tourist access to whales. As such the permitting process is not guaranteed for anyone who simply wishes to go to Dominica to swim with whales. I have had my own experience where I believed I was on a trip with a paid permit, when in fact a well known guide who was supposed to get the permit had not in fact obtained one.
The trips I am organizing are not in any way meant to compete with Wetpixel or any other commercial operation, the boat we use is a 32' open fisherman, comfortable for 6 people and captained by Jerry. As we are not a true commercial operation, our goal is to cover costs and reimburse Izzy our guide for his time as guide and for arranging permitting, helping with data collection for the study etc. For those wishing to see my inwater experience last November with Izzy as guide, you can see my gallery at http://waterworldima...736214994_pRKmU
With all due respect though, whether or not you see whales really depends on whether they are there in the area or not. Best times of the year are apparently November through March, but this will vary based mostly on whether the whales are close to shore when encounters are frequent, or whether they are further offshore, when encounters are less certain. Because the main commercial whale operations are viewing only, without inwater experience, no permits are required for these operations. However they are essentially out on a daily basis, and the captains communicate with each other as to where the whales are, and whale sightings are not kept secret from one boat to the other. The object is to keep this study project as an ongoing annual contribution to tracking and studying the behaviour of these remarkable creatures.
For those who do not know me, I am a full time plastic surgeon (lookandfeelbetter.com) with photography as a hobby and a few pennies occasionally. Those who know me will also agree that what you see is what you get, maybe not always politically correct, but full disclosure, no BS.

Edited by loftus, 30 September 2010 - 06:24 AM.

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#9 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 06:28 AM

Anyone wanting a second opinion on Jeff is welcome to contact me - as some already have. I know him and am happy to vouch for him a decent chap - for anyone considering the trip.

Alex

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#10 echeng

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 11:03 AM

I vouch for Jeff, as well. No problem here in having multiple trips out there.

The trips we are planning are based on our prior experiences out in Dominica. The boat is larger and costs more, and the crew (probably) costs more. Also, we are a commercial operation, which means that our trip leader is comped and paid.

I believe that both trips will give guests a chance to see sperm whales, but I've only been with the operator we have chosen, so that is the only one I can really plan a trip for (also, permit logistics make things more complicated).
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#11 eyu

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 03:40 PM

I can attest to both boats and crews, they were both good. The boat that Eric is using is a catamaran that is more spacious then the fisherman that Jeff has booked, but slower and less maneuverable. Either does the job well of dropping you off in front of the whales and picking you up. It is a lot of swimming, but well worth it if you are lucky enough to have good encounters.

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#12 nudibranch

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Posted 22 October 2010 - 02:07 PM

Hi Elmer,

The "fisherman" that is booked for the Nov trip and those in March was the first person to go to sea running whale watching back in 89/90, he used to run the big cats, but has since bought his own, which is why there is a reduction in size, but it is more than made up for in speed, maneuverability and the skill and experience of the crew. As usual there will be a copy of the permit on board for all to see, unlike your last time on the other vessel.

no more than 6 per trip, so no crowds, all carefully managed.

Izzy
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#13 rtrski

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Posted 23 November 2010 - 11:59 AM

So where's the pics, mate?

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#14 eyu

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 02:36 PM

Yea!!!! Where are the pics?

Jeff, Izzy, how did it go??

Did Scar come out and play?

Elmer

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#15 loftus

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Posted 01 December 2010 - 02:33 AM

Just an update. We completed our first week trip to Dominca last month and all in all I think it went well. Unfortunately I could not go as my wife has had some health issues. Essentially 5 days on the water, 5 days of whales. Viz and weather were not perfect, but here is some footage courtesy of Alexander Benedik. Scar did not show during those 5 days, but did show on the 6th day when Izzy went out for a short jaunt with the boat captain and one of the guys from the trip. Izzy will provide a better trip report soon. In March the first week may have one opening (March 5-12) and the second week may have 2 openings (March 12-19). I say may, as I have interested people who have not yet sent deposits.
Here is the link to Alex's video


Nikon D800, Nikon D7000, Nauticam, Inons, Subtronic Novas. Lens collection - 10-17, 15, 16, 16-35, 14-24, 24-70, 85, 18-200, 28-300, 70-200, 60 and 105, TC's. Macs with Aperture and Photoshop.