Conscious Breath Adventures – now in its eleventh year taking guests to swim with humpback whales on the Silver Bank, Dominican Republic – has chartered theM/V Sea Hunter, to commence service in January 2020. The M/V Sea Hunter is a 116’ long, 250 gross ton, meticulously maintained and highly regarded live-aboard dive vessel for 20 passengers, and will be joining the small group of vessels operating on the Silver Bank each winter.
Part of the protected Sanctuary for Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic, the Silver Bank is a shallow area about 75 miles off the north coast and is a critical breeding, birthing and nursery area for North Atlantic humpback whales, (Megaptera novaeangliae). Between 3,000-5,000 whales pass through the Sanctuary each winter between December – April, and, in carefully managed operations, visitors are permitted to join the whales in the water in a soft-in-water-encounter.
Conscious Breath Adventures holds one of only three permits to offer this uniquely Dominican adventure which fewer than 600 people get to experience each year. Owner Gene Flipse has spent seventeen seasons on the Silver Bank, and notes that “The Sea Hunter spends her summers in Costa Rica making a 36 hour, 360 nautical mile crossing to the Cocos Islands every two weeks. Our 75 mile trip to the Silver Bank will be a short jaunt for this boat. She has all the stability, safety, space and comfort that we need to provide exceptional service to our guests.”
Formerly a support vessel for the offshore oil industry in the Gulf of Mexico, it took eight months to refit the M/V Sea Hunter as a liveaboard dive vessel. With 10 en-suite staterooms hosting twenty passengers and eight crew, her zero speed stabilizers, vast dive deck, dedicated camera lockers with charging stations, private library, deck stored tenders and clean, modern accommodations are just some of the many features that make her the Silver Bank vessel of choice.
While the practicalities are critical, attitude is also important and Gene looks forward to positive collaboration with Sea Hunter owners Avi Klapfer and Yosy Naaman and their crew. “We are no strangers to the Silver Bank and very much looking forward to being back” says owner Avi Klapfer, “What a privilege it is to meet these animals in their own homes.”