5 tips regarding swimming with whale sharks
1/ Do not touch or ride the whale sharks
The skin of the whale sharks has a mucous covering to protect them from getting infected. By touching the whale sharks, the mucous covering can get broken and it will no longer able to protect itself from harmful microorganisms.
Just think about do you want nasty strangers coming up to you and start touching you all over, or do you want them to touch your children?
I am sure you won’t like that and the whale sharks feel the same.
2/Check the calendar for whale sharks season
There are a few places in the world that you can swim with whale sharks however because they are a migratory creature they don’t like to swim in one corner of the ocean. Pick the location that you plan to snorkel/dive with whale sharks and see when they will arrive. Don’t go too early or late in the season either just in case they decided to stay a little bit longer in the other part of the world or leave sooner than they intended to. It all depends on the water temperature and their food source.
3/Check the weather
When it rains a lot that means they will not be coming up to the surface to feed on planktons, fish eggs, squids and other small fishes, instead they will be eating deep down below, therefore you won’t be able to see them.
Also, check on the wind condition. It should be less than 18km/h. When the wind is too high the port won’t be open and no boat will be allowed to go out on the water, it is too dangerous. One of the couples at my hostel kept extending their stay because their whale sharks tour got cancelled on them for 5 days in a row due to high wind condition, after the 5th day they gave up and left. It was really disappointing because they came to Isla Holbox purposely to go swimming with the whale sharks. To add more sadness to the matter was that on the 6th day after they’ve already left, the weather finally behaved and whoever signed up for the tour was able to experience this incredible swim with the majestic and gentle giant. Remember the beauty of this event it is because the whale sharks are free, wild and in their natural habitat. No one can predict nature, so to prevent regret either give yourself some flexibility or do your research.
4/Pick your tour/guide operator carefully and consciously
The whale sharks are on the list of endangered species. They are at a high risk of being extinct in the wild. They only reach sexual maturity at around 30 years so it takes a while for them to procreate. Make sure that the company you pick care for the wildlife, the environment and that they are knowledgeable and certified. Some of the questions you might want to ask/know are how many people do they allowed on the boat? How many people do they allow to swim with the whale sharks at one time (it should be no more than 2 ppl and a guide)? Do they condemn touching? Are they an expert in the prevention of colliding either their vessel or the propeller with the whale sharks? Check out their reviews!
5/How to swim with whale sharks
Do not get in their way, make sure you don’t block their path, don’t swim too close and swim away from their head and mouth especially when they are feeding. Use only biodegradable sun protection. Don’t use the camera with flash. Use a life jacket or a snorkel vest. This giant fish won’t harm you so be gentle with it and give it some space and respect.
Now go and plan your whale sharks swimming adventure!
*I do not own any part of this song* music credit goes to it rightful owner/s.