Travel Photos of KSC Members
Volume 5
Kronenstadt Ski Club
Pasadena, California
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Barbara McK.  Adventure with the Whales  March ,2011

I cut short a Mammoth ski trip to head to Dominican Republic to swim with the humpback whales. The whales spend January to April in an area called the Silver Banks which is 85 miles off the coast. It is a shallow area of the ocean (100 feet or so) where the whales mate and give birth to their calves. Instead of just whale watching from the boat I spent five days snorkeling with them.
This picture is of a calf who is coming right toward me as it came up for air. His mother is waiting for him below. Calves come up for air every 5-8 minutes while the mother only needs to surface about every 20 minutes.
This picture is me in the blue fins with the yellow weight belt.  You can see the female swimming toward the snorkelers
as her escort waited a bit lower in the
water.  Usually we snorkeled free, but this day we had 7 whales playing with the boat, so most of us held on to ropes connected to the boat. At one point this female grazed my stomach with her back as she moved toward the surface to breathe.
Woolly and John S. opening day 2010. Mammoth will get record snow, 25' this season.
Snow is already deep enough to cross over the snow fence. 20' more to come by March.
This picture shows me just over her behind her eye and you can see just how small the boat is on the right in comparison to her. It was amazing how close she got to us. I could see her eye as she looked at me and see the muscles move as her white pectoral fins moved up and down. It was an amazing week with many close encounter

I've heard about the grey whales off the coast of Mexico, but would miss not getting in the water with them. Apparently, Dominican Republic and Tonga are the only places where snorkeling with the whales is allowed. I would recommend Dominican Republic if you are considering it, as there are only 3 permits allowed for companies so there are only about 60 people on the Silver Bank at any one time on 6 tenders during the day that rarely are near each other as it is such a large area. I went with Wilderness Travel, but they worked with the whale company called Conscious Breath Adventures and you can book directly with them during the 10 week season.
 After all of the snowstorms at Mammoth in March, five Kronenstadt ladies went to seek sun, fun, and warmth in Las Vegas.  Barbara McK., Christel, Fran, Jean, and Lynn shared adjoining rooms at The Golden Nugget.
Activities included: spending time at the large pool with waterfalls and a waterslide tube going through the shark and fish aquarium; wandering the Freemont Experience; gambling at tables and new slots; shopping on the strip; investigating Red Rock Canyon; visiting with friends and family; relaxing with spa treatments; enjoying dining entertainment; reminiscing Country Dancing Days at a live evening show; etc., etc., etc…..
What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas!   Jean.