— 11 Dec 2011 —
Another smorgasboard of fresh fruit down, I started the morning with a walk and an hour snorkelling session. I was paired with a father and his 2 sons (of all the people on the boat?!) and they were pleasant enough to include me in their “team”, however I soon got bored with the sons not listening to their father so I went off by myself.
The water was clear as although there wasn’t much to see. I ended up drifting with the current and joining the pilots. They looked to be having so much fun diving under and shooting random crap on their camera. We were out in the sun for about an hour or so, it was great fun. Also an easy way of getting a nice back tan (yes, that’s all I care about).
We arrived back at the dive center and it was a quick lunch at the bar (no drinking and swimming though!), then back out on the boat to swim with the whale sharks. I’ve been wanting to swim with the whale sharks for a while now so I was super excited that it was whale shark season!
Every year, the whale sharks pass by the coast of WA, between April and July, and I say I want to go see them up in Ningaloo Reef. Whenever I’ve asked my friends to go with me, I get the same old boring excuses. “I have no leave” or “I’ve just come back from a trip” or “I’m saving up to go to Japan”. Japan, pfft! Who wants to go there when you can go swim with the whale sharks? Do they have whale sharks in Japan? Huh? HUH?! This then means I don’t end up going and it’s been about 2 or 3 years since I started proposing this idea to my friends. I’ve given up. They can go to Japan for all I care <end rant>.
Back to the dive center and there they were again. The Russians. Gawd dang. Luckily only half of them went with us (they were starting to get a bad name), and they didn’t bring their portable speakers.
The water was choppy and I had forgotten to bring my motion sickness pills so I wasn’t very talkative on the way out (or way in for that matter). I was just staring out into the horizon to keep my focus on a central point (a white grand-looking mansion on the foreshore in this case). We finally reached the area where all the other boats were congregated and we waited. Not for long though.
We dived in and I saw my first whale shark! It was huge and swimming so close. I had to swim pretty fast after this one although it was just cruising through the water, with no care for the world above. It swam off pretty quick once it realised the Russians were trying to dive and touch it (although the guides told us not to touch the sharks!).
We got back on the boat, albeit very un-ladylike, and went in search of the next whale shark. Note to self, don’t wear a bikini and get dragged up the side of a boat. It is NOT attractive. At all.
There were 2 sharks at the next location and it was swimming about 15 metres below us. As we were preparing to dive in, I got a flipper in my face (from the fat Russian again!!) and once more when the whale shark changed directions. I decided to stay away from him for the rest of the chase and good thing I did because the whale shark decided to come up closer to the surface and I got some amazing shots of its markings.
Whale sharks are such amazing creatures! I totally recommend everyone to go and swim with them. I was overwhelmed by how close they get to humans and vice versa. It was such a privilege to have finally seen them and have swam with them, even if it is in Mozambique and not Ningaloo Reef.
Now you must go and do it! I hope you don’t get a flipper in the face though.