Thursday, 16 May 2024
-- Advertisement --
Liberty Club Level3 Divers24

"Hunting" a whale shark

There are several places in the world where customers are offered snorckling with the largest fish in the world, namely the whale shark. There are also places where you can see these majestic giants while diving. The very fact of being able to interact with these animals is exciting. Such places include the Philippines, the
Published: November 14, 2017 - 12:45
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 15:53
“Hunting” a whale shark

There are several places in the world where customers are offered snorckling with the largest fish in the world, namely the whale shark. There are also places where you can see these majestic giants while diving. The very fact of being able to interact with these animals is exciting. Such places include the Philippines, the Galapagos or, for example, the Maldives.

Safari offers very often mention this possibility as one of the highlights of the programme, although they insist that it is a natural environment and they cannot guarantee anything. After all, a whale shark can swim by another atoll on any given day, can’t it?

-- Advertisement --

It had been almost 10 years when we encountered him on a dive in the Galapagos off Darwin’s Island, at a depth of 30m. It was huge, about 12m long and passed us by quite quickly. The dive group consisted of 9 people along with the guide. It was a wonderful feeling that took our breath away.

I visited the Maldives about 7 years ago and we missed the biggest fish in the world then. At that time, this island country was visited by many people and there were many diving boats sailing around the atolls. What a surprise for me was the last safari I just came back from. We sailed in the Maldives. There was a very nice group of 9 people from Poland. We got along quite quickly and we coexisted well together. But this is not what I wanted to write about.

The Maldives has become more populated, and it is not about the population growth, but about the number of tourists. Practically at all diving sites of the northern atolls, which we visited during 7 days, it was crowded under water. Not once did we dive alone. There were always other boats coming to accompany us. Underwater it was getting crowded. This was especially noticeable in the crowded “cleanic station” areas where mantas or sharks performed ablutions. In the Maldives currents, sometimes very strong, are omnipresent and diving with hooks is standard. In all such places, looking around right and left I saw dozens of anchored divers. The encounter with mantas becomes less intimate and less spectacular. Air bubbles are flying all around. The animals swim up, but suddenly turn or swim away. And so the poor visibility is further reduced by the exhaled air.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

But this can be survived, because once the hook is in place, no mantas or sharks come close, and the invisible boundary is maintained. After a few minutes or so, the cleaning station goes on and the wild animals do little to make fun of us.

Snorkelling with whale sharks is completely different. We go to the place where they like to stay by diving for several days. When the sun rises it turns out that there are as many as 18 boats, each accommodating between 20 and 30 divers. We are supposed to be at ABC, prepared to jump into the water. We sit tight and wait. Our “diving buses” with their engines howling and smoking black, swim back and forth, communicating with the others. They look out for prey. When it finally turns out that a whale shark has appeared, the whole company swims to the spot indicated and jumps vigorously into the water. People are excited. Many are holding cameras and camcorders. One of the guides, from one of the boats, raises his hand. This means that below him is our object of desire. I swim towards it together with the “wild” crowd. There are probably 200 of us. I am starting to get scared. We are supposed to keep a distance of at least 2 meters from the shark. How many people will respect this?

The “hunt” begins – a wild chase. The whale shark swims quite fast waving its huge tail. It is not easy to accompany it and there is no way to catch up with it by swimming in a straight line. I dive in and, between the jumbled water, air and fins, I spot a whale shark. I feel sorry for it. All this one-actor theatre looks frightening. Hundreds of people trying to get as close as possible to the fish. The distance of 2 metres, as far as I can see, is reduced to 20 cm. I even think that many people are touching the innocent shark, unwillingly. I go under the water, because I have 2 kg of weight and my camera. I take a few photos, swim out and turn back. I do not want to participate in such a spectacle. I climb on our diving boat and it turns out that the vast majority has already returned. Practically everyone is disgusted with the whole situation. Yes, we saw a whale shark. It was maybe 5-6 metres long. I also know that the shark saw us … How did it perceive our human, wild crowd? I won’t be surprised if it changes rev and swims away. The Indian Ocean is big, and there are thousands of atolls. I, for one, would do so if I were him.

We have thought about it and discussed it. It is almost like Egypt before 2009 in the Maldives. On the one hand, I understand those who want to see a whale shark with their own eyes. However, if they do not see it, they will still be alive. Therefore, on the other hand, I would be in favour of somehow limiting the number of boats on any given day to maybe 2 or 3, and not 20.

Environmental degradation can also be seen underwater, with many reefs broken and greyish. They are a great contrast to the colourful and vibrant ones controlled by the predators of the deep.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”31298″]

Other posts
Share:
Facebook
Telegram
LinkedIn
Twitter
Pinterest
WhatsApp

About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
-- Advertisement --
freediving dive insurance dan
-- Advertisement --
Level3 Club CCR Divers24
Recent post
Legendary Michael Menduno – Technical Diving Guru – Diving Talks 2023 speakers
Shearwater Peregrine TX: The Ultimate Diving Companion
Baltictech 2024: Dive into Inspiration - Tickets Now on Sale!
Adriatic Depths: Cultivating Sustainable Tourism through Underwater Heritage
Jared Hires: A Tragic Loss in the Depths of Plura Cave
Opal Mine Unsolved Mystery of Solomon Goldschmidt's Hidden Treasure
Beyond Gear: Liberty Divers Club and Divesoft Team Up
You haven't read yet
Lungfish Orca v6 Rebreather Achieves CE Certification
Shearwater Peregrine TX: The Ultimate Diving Companion
Raid HYPOXIC TRIMIX OC course to 100 metres
Sintzi Cave Exploration: Polish Divers' Double Success in Greece
Baltictech 2024: Dive into Inspiration - Tickets Now on Sale!
Adriatic Depths: Cultivating Sustainable Tourism through Underwater Heritage
More posts in this category

Search...

The Divers24 portal is currently the largest online medium treating diving in Poland. Since 2010 we have been providing interesting and important information from Poland and around the world on all forms of diving and related activities.

Contact us: info@divers24.com