Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world. They can grow up to 12m/40feet! At least, that is what humans found out so far, because little is know about them since observation in the open water is difficult. They are not whales, although they have a lot in common but they are sharks with small teeth, about 300. Whale sharks are filter feeders so they don’t use these teeth to eat.
Let there be magic.
Since they do not pose threats to humans and swimming with whale sharks is known as a life-changing experience, they have become a popular tourist attraction, even in the ocean.
For many scuba divers, meeting one of these friendly giants is a dream coming true and a moment one will never forget. Many divers travel the world to see one, but there is never a guarantee one will show up during a dive, which makes them even more interesting and Mysterious. There are stories of scuba instructors holding thousands of dives under their belt in areas where often whale sharks are spot, but unfortunately for them, never saw one. More frustrating is the moment their open water student comes out of the water with a different group completely freaking out and running around like a happy puppy screaming: "we saw a whale shark!"
Luckily for these poor instructors, there is a way to meet them.
Mexico, Philippines, Seychelles, ... popular places where whale sharks aggregate and often at approximately the same areas which makes it easy for tour operators to guarantee an encounter.
Nothing beats a spontaneous encounter!
The most important rule in scuba diving is to never hold your breath. But, when out of a sudden, a fish the size of a bus is passing by, you might just forget everything and your regulator might drop out of your mouth. So therefore, it's never a bad idea to keep your diving skills fresh.
In this video you see a whale shark we were lucky to meet after a dive. The boat captain all of the sudden spotted this monster a bit further then our boat. My apologies for the vibrating effect, I was ultra excited. This wasn't the first whale shark I had seen, but it was the largest fish I have ever seen. When he/she started to swim off I did a duck dive and tried to follow but they swim faster than you might think. I kept a safe distance of about 5m/15ft which is a good idea when there is a giant's tail coming your way.