Philippine Islands Snorkeling with whale sharks -Trip Logs
Log, May 31:
I snorkeled with whale sharks at all of the world's great whale shark locations and some that are not so great. I've been leading swimmers on snorkel trips to swim with whale sharks for 6 years.
Phadke, April 22: This
letter by Vijay describes in detail the experience his family had on their
whale shark adventure.
This small town becomes a busy place as tourists from all over the world arrive to watch these huge fish. Local fisherman assist as whale spotters. The fishermen with experience are known as Butanding Interaction Officers or BIO.
We were team of seven, four from my family and three from my friends family. That night, all of us went to bed in excited state, not exactly knowing what we will be experiencing next day.
Donsol, Phillipine Islands is the best location I have been to. Not just because of the heavy concentration of whale sharks. There are other considerations that lead me to say this.
1. Friendly & smiling people,
unspoiled by the greed for tourist dollars or pounds so obvious on Holbox
Island these days.
|We started our tour in a small motor boat called Bunka. It was a 30 footer with balancing bamboo on both sides as per local style. Alan asked us to be ready with out swimming gear, the snorkel and fins etc. Jun climbed a bamboo cross to get a cleaner view of the surroundings. He spotted the first Whale Shark just in 10 minutes, hardly a kilometer away from the shore. There was a sudden excitement in the crew and Jun started guiding the boatman, shouting in local dialect. Alan told us that the boatman will position the boat correctly, about 25 meters from the fish and then upon his signal GO, we have to jump in the water with him and start swimming towards the fish as fast as we can! My heart was thumping and my fingers went numb|
5. Life jackets
are not required to be worn in the water as they are at Holbox Island.
This means you can swim faster and stay with the sharks longer.
myself and Ajoy, Peters son, prepared to go for the first encounter.
As we approached the fish, we saw a huge dark patch in the water. My wife,
Smita was holding the Video Camera but all that she could capture was a
giant black patch. We closed in and then I heard Alan shout, go .. go
go. This was the moment of truth! Also this was my first time to swim in
deep see without any life jacket as it impedes the swimming speed. It was
Ajoy who jumped first. I jumped after him and started swimming in the direction
indicated by Alan. Alan was swimming very fast and I also applied all of
my force to approach the mammoth fish. With my mask, and thanks to the power
lens that it had, I already had a corrected vision even inside the waters,
I saw the huge mouth from the side. That was a magnificent site. I still
vividly remember the swift motion and elegant stokes of the tail. The gills
were huge and so was the dorsal fin. We were hardly 10 feet away from it
and were swimming parallel to its body. The encounter lasted for about 30
seconds and then it changed the trajectory and glided past us in the deeper
waters. The tail was huge with a small cut at the tip. I was stunned by
the size and felt that it must have been at least 40 feet long. Alan remarked
casually, That one was small, just 22 feet!"
back to the boat but meanwhile Jun spotted another one. Alan asked us
to hold on to the balancing bamboo on the side and the boat moved, dragging
us along. Soon we approached another one. This was almost of the same
size but I could see only the middle part and the tail. Then we climbed
Snorkel with Whale Sharks at
Donsol, Philippine Islands