Swimming with whale sharks

My face was pale and I thought that I was going to throw up. The small motorboat was bouncing on the rough waves of the open sea. There we were, a small group of people in search for the biggest fish on planet earth: The whale shark!

Even though I couldn’t fully enjoy because I was seasick (should’ve taken a pill… stubborn me), it was one of the most beautiful things that I’ve experienced in nature. When a tiny boat takes you that far offshore, you immediately feel vulnerable and surrendered to mother earth. On our way we saw manta rays and dolphins, turtles and other marine life. I was super excited to swim with this friendly fish. After a ride of almost two hours we started searching for the whale shark. There was only one other boat looking for the same creature. And there it was.

Wow, a whale shark!
Wow, a whale shark! (1)

I can still recall the soothing sound of the ocean, and the image of the biggest fish that I’d ever seen. They (yes, there were three) appeared out of the blue. They were underneath our boat, next to us, calm and quiet eating their plankton. One by one we dived into the open sea and got to swim with them. The agency that sells the tour has to have a permission to do so, and there are strict rules when swimming with whale sharks. My heart was beating when it was my turn and the dive instructor told me that we would jump of the boat in three seconds. I saw the huge mouth opening up in front of me and the whale shark swimming towards us, exactly when he said ‘jump!’.

And so we jumped. We had to use all our muscles to maintain the same speed as the fish. It was so big! Huge! And all my fear disappeared when I felt its energy, which was so calm. Underneath its fins were lots of smaller fish, and the whale shark moved gracefully through the sea. Once we got out of the water, the adrenaline rushed through my veins. I did it! And I can recommend you to do the same while you’re alive!

Everything ok (2)
Everything ok (2)

The whale shark (: Rhincodon typus) feeds himself near Isla Holbox, Mexico, from June/July to August/September every year. It’s in this time of year that the sea in this particular place is filled with plankton, the primary food of the whale shark. Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the world, and they are also called ‘friendly sharks’ since they only eat plankton. During the summer period you can find many agencies who offer tours to swim with whale sharks on the idyllic island of Holbox. Many people come to Isla Holbox for this particular activity, but be aware that boats are not allowed to leave the shore when the weather is bad. Be prepared for anything to happen, you’re visiting Mexico! Also, book your tour on time. The island ánd this activity is becoming more and more popular, so make sure you’re on time.

Some facts about whale sharks:

  • Adult whale sharks can reach up to 14 meters! The ones we saw ranged between 7 and 11 meters.
    Think about that when you’re standing next to a tall building.
  • Whale sharks use their entire body to swim, not only their fins.
  • Each whale shark has its own ‘design’ of spots and squares that cover its body.
Copyright curiosity.com
Copyright curiosity.com

Do you dare to go on a whale shark adventure?

We also got to see flamingos (4)
We also got to see flamingos (3)
Boat ride (3)
Boat ride (4)

 

© 2016 by Debbie – AHORITA YA. All Rights Reserved.
Photos 1, 2, 3 and 4 © 2016 by Debbie – AHORITA YA. All Rights Reserved.

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