Sunday, June 21, 2009

1st Whale Sharking of 2009

I know, how pathetic is that? We've been whale sharking every day since the middle of March and last Thursday is the first day I've managed to get out myself.  It's a sad state of affairs, I must say.

We had a wonderful day out. We were going to do a dive first but got distracted by a very young humpback whale - he was still grey - doing huge splashes and carrying on like a crazy thing. So we motored up closer to him and followed him for about 30 minutes. I seem to be a jinx with my camera and whales so I didn't take mine out until I was sure everyone had the opportunity to get some good action shots :) Which meant I missed the best of the temper tantrum, but I did get some nice sprays as he surfaced.

You can see how pale he is

After watching him, we turned around to head back towards the reef section where we'd been seeing most of the whale sharks recently. On the way, we ran across a nice group of five manta rays playing and chowing down on the plankton rich lanes that were running behind the reef. Again, we had paying customers so I stayed well back and didn't take any photos of our snorkel with these guys so you'll just have to use your imagination!

Finished with the manta rays - and did I mention that it isn't yet 10am? - we head off in search of whale sharks again. Our planes aren't in the air yet and we're just cruising down the back of the reef. Then Craig, our skipper, shouts - "whale shark right there!" And there's our first whale shark of the day, not 20m from the side of the boat! So we all scramble in to our gear and start an awesome day with whale sharks.

We ended up swimming with eight different whale sharks ranging from about 3m to over 8m long. A couple of them also had tags, which is always cool to see. Our last shark of the day was one of our favourites - Stumpy. And he was SO slow and mellow we could move from side to side and even stop briefly for a little chat with each other before swimming along with him some more. We love Stumpy!

The water was nice and warm and pretty blue with good visibility, though there is a ton of food in the water which makes getting that perfect shot tough since all the bits light up and sparkle against the blue background! But I had a super fun time and need to get out and do it again soon!


Robert Whetton said...

that 2nd from last shot is truly amazing, the light rays and everything !!

Kristin said...

Thanks! Hopefully I'll have time to go out again this season :)