Nestled among the lush mountains along the Northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, Samana Bay proffers the quietest untouched beaches and most radiant turquoise waters in the Caribbean. But, that’s not all the bay has to offer. Wildlife protection organizations estimate that approximately 3,000 Humpback Whales that migrate every year, 80 percent of which travel between 2000 to 4,000 miles to Samana Bay to court and give birth, making it one of the best places in the world for whale watching.

Despite the fact that I have lived here for more than a decade, had repeatedly heard about the whales, and had even recommended that people who came to visit go see them, it wasn’t until a few years ago that I went myself. When I did, it was well worth the trip. Instead of going with one of the travel companies that arrange trips, a friend that lives in Samana took myself, and the small group I had gone with, down to the docks where he used to work and we made arrangements for them to take us out for a few hours. It was amazing. About 20 minutes out the boat captain slowed the boat and we were surrounded by three large males, each of which proceeded to take turns, breaching the water, spouting, tail slapping, and showing off in other ways for whatever single lady whale was in the vicinity. When the wind died down a little, we could even hear them singing their hauntingly melancholy mating song.