Oh my, INCREDIBLE!
About four years ago my mom discovered whale shark diving in Western Australia. This past month I had two surf contests in Australia, one being in West Aus, so I brought my mom with so we could go swim with the Whale Sharks after the contest.
We ventured to Exmouth, Australia to swim with the Whale Sharks, which are known as the biggest fish in the sea! Technically whale sharks are actually sharks, and they are absolutely beautiful! “These plankton eating gentle giants visit the waters of Ningaloo Reef each year around the coral spawning event on the West Coast,” says Ocean Eco Adventures. “Although they can dive to depths of 1500m the whale sharks found at Ningaloo Reef are generally swimming on the surface and travel at about 3-5kms per hour.”
We boated out to deeper ocean where a spotter plane locates the whale shark then directs us where to go. The first person in the water was my mom, she was so excited! Then I followed. I was in awe when I saw our first whale shark. It was beautiful, and definitely one BIG shark. It was a little scary, but after a bit I realized how graceful and peaceful it was. We swam along side of it keeping 3 meters away.
“One of the bigger whale sharks was slow cruising and then turned around and came right at me with his huge mega mouth 4-feet away,” recalls my mom, Cheri Hamilton. “I fumbled my camera in panic as I struggled to get out of his way. Bethany was nearby but laughing too hard to be of any assistance.” It was pretty funny. My mom wrote a great blog post on her website SoulSurferMom.com which shares loads of interesting information about Whale Sharks and more about her perspective of our adventure! She concludes, “This was the experience of a lifetime recommended for any bucket list!”
According to OEA’s website, they have seen both male and female Whale Sharks up to 14m (about 45 feet) in length, although many of the juveniles they see are around 4-6m in length. We swam with 3 different sharks for a total of about 6-8 swims. The sharks we saw were around 3-5 meters.
I filmed a little with my GoPro but I was too busy looking with my eyes that I didn’t get very much footage.
My personal favorite swim was near the end when everyone was getting tired and it ended up just being me and the staff photographer swimming with the whale shark!
Whale sharks are gorgeous creatures and sadly they are finned and killed.
To support the stop of finning and killing whale sharks and other sharks, please check out-
PEW Environmental Group and Heart for Sharks Australia
The company that we went Whale Shark snorkeling with: Ocean Eco Adventures