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Saona Island Day Trip | Vancouver Wedding & Boudoir Photographer | A Little Fun

From Wikipedia: "Saona Island (Spanish: Isla Saona) is a tropical island located a short distance from the mainland on the south-east tip of the Dominican Republic. It is a government protected nature reserve and is part of East National Park (Spanish: Parque Nacional del Este). It is a popular destination for tourists from all over the Dominican Republic, who arrive in fleets of catamarans and small motorboats on organized excursions every day. The Island is famous for the natural beauty of its beaches, and has been used on many occasions by film-makers and advertisers looking for a stereotypical "desert island" setting for their film or product."
The seas around the Island are rich in wildlife, with many species of birds and tropical marine fish, and there are large areas where natural sandbars offshore bring the depth to just a few feet. These are once again popular with the tourist trade, with small boats stopping hundreds of meters off the beach and disgorging tourists into the waist-deep shallows where they snorkel, drink and inspect the fields of starfish indigenous to the region."

Organized by friends Anna and Yoel, a group of about 20 of us (mostly photographers, makeup artists, and their friends and/or family) took a day trip to Saona Island. To get there, we took a catamaran from Bayahibe; a town located in the South of The Dominican republic. Its shores are part of the calmer Caribbean Sea (as opposed to Punta Cana, its shores are part of The Atlantic Ocean), which makes it even more idyllic than Punta Cana. 

The catamaran ride there lasted about an hour or so, with the crew serving up lots of rum and coke! Classic!

The trip there was sunny and warm, with big skies, aquamarine waters, loud music, and lots of new pals. New friends are the best! The boat made a stop at a natural starfish pool, everyone got out and waded/swam around, and anyone who has been living in The DR for a while complained about the water being too cold! Even I did, but then I always complain about the cold! It didn't take me too long after being in the water that I ran back to the boat to grab my camera. My obsession with image-making perhaps interferes with my ability to live a normal life!

After we left this starfish-pool area we headed to the "main" beach where there are tons of other tourists, a lunch buffet, big beautiful palms, and the amazing white-necked crow! I wasn't sure what these birds were at first as they looked like a cross between a magpie and a crow - so I knew they were from the corvidae family. After a bit of research, first thinking they were the palm crow, but the palm crows weren't as chatty, I had to do some more until I figured it out (their white neck isn't really apparent, so I didn't at first pay much attention to the white-necked crow.) But these birds are *chatty* - like, raven/parrot chatty! I wish I had taken a recording. I just want to learn their crow language! You can listen here.
Crows are one of my favourite birds - mainly because of their intelligence - which you can see in their language, hilarious and mischievous behaviour, and problem-solving skills. Lots of research and videos out there which highlight this - crows are my fave!

After a few hours of relaxing/eating/chatting on the Saona Island beach, the sky clouded over and it started to rain. Womp womp! Not a surprise because this time of year, the question isn't "Will it rain?" it is, "When will it rain?" The rain never lasts that long, however, and we took shelter under a palm until getting on a smaller speedboat, headed back to Bayahibe.

Soon after getting on the speedboat to head back, the crew pointed off to the distance at fins poking out of the water! Everyone got all, "What is it!? What are those?!"

The boat immediately slowed down and those fins came racing toward our boat - dolphins! Everyone had an OMG moment! It was definitely OMG-worthy! A pod of dolphins swam with, around, zigzagging, following, leading, playing, with our boat for about 5 minutes! Sadly, I did not have a polarizer for the lens I brought. Had I known we were going to have a pod of dolphins swim with our boat, I would have brought one, haha...but the photos are still good enough to see that there are dolphins swimming with our boat. Everyone was really stoked, we were all just so elated! Five minutes! It was epic. Almost spiritual - we all had a moment with nature.

So after this day of new pals, hot sun, beautiful beach, boat rides, dolphins, and flying fish (I almost forgot that part!) we drove back on to Punta Cana, passed out from exhaustion, and half of the people who went work up the next day super sick. Ha! I guess nothing can be perfect! I only say that so you don't have too much FOMO from this post. Just think, if you weren't there, you didn't get sick. BUT if you weren't there, you should go at some point in your life - it's worth getting sick for a day! And I hope you get to see dolphins too!