Whales and Dolphins
The underwater shelf formed by Anguilla, St. Barthelemy, and St. Martin / St. Maarten islands makes a hospitable breeding ground for humpback whales. Spot them here from December to April, when they take respite in warm waters to attract their mates for breeding before leaving for colder waters to find food. At this time of year, a diver can hear male humpback whales singing for up to half an hour before the creatures return to the surface for air. During breeding periods, active groups of males move quickly, “chasing” after females.
Dolphin sightings are moments of pure joy. Ever present in the waters surrounding St. Martin island, the curious beasts come together in tight groups, often swimming parallel with the bow of your boat. It’s not uncommon to find them frolicking in the waters near Creole Rock, Tintamarre Island, and Scrub Island near Anguilla.
Whale and Dolphin Watching Rules
Charter companies offer regular whale and dolphin watching outings, where you may be lucky enough to come across entire dolphin or whale pods. On these excursions, there are a few simple rules to follow for both your safety and that of the animals. These suggestions will keep you from startling or disturbing the creatures.
- Avoid approaching resting animals or those in mid-jump.
- Approach animals from a three-quarter angle behind them, and move progressively parallel without overtaking them.
- Do not exceed a speed of 5 knots in or around the entire perimeter of the 300-meter safety zone around the group.
- Keep the engine in neutral if the animals approach the boat.
- Any person who is nervous around the animals should refrain from watching.
- Avoid circling the animals when numerous boats are in the area. Instead, position all boats on the same side, and never divide a group of animals. Do not insert your craft between a pod and boats already present.
- Avoid any abrupt change of gear, speed, or direction.
- Limit the amount of time you are present in the safety zone to 30 minutes.
- Do not swim near, touch, or feed the animals.
(Source Sanctuaire Agoa)