When thinking of traveling to the Dominican Republic, many things come to mind – a tropical drink, sandy beaches, upscale, all-inclusive resorts.

And whales?

An often overlooked fact about the island of Hispaniola is the seasonal prominence of humpback whales off the coast of the Dominican Republic. Between the months of January and March, a portion of the humpback whale population migrates to the warm waters of the Caribbean to find their ideal mate, or give birth to the next generation of humpbacks.

The appropriately named animals play an interesting mating game in the waters of the Samana Bay. The male whales remain on the outskirts of the perimeter, aggressively pursuing the females with posturing and flashy aquatic moves. The available females stay on the inside of this show, waiting for their chosen mate and keeping the inner bay safe for the newly born calves.

Apart from the odd visual of nursing mothers huddling in the center, this particular mating ritual may be similar to what often occurs on land in typical tourist hotspots. Ecologically speaking, winter in the Caribbean sea is like Spring Break for the humpbacks.

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