The other day I was looking at some of my photos and I came across the ones of our day spent swimming with the whale sharks. I decided to record my memories here about that day. We were invited by some friends ( Erika and Carlo) to go with some of our other friends (Lisa and Enrique) on a private tour since Carlo works in the tourist industry and he gets great deals-thanks Carlo! After picking up a couple of water proof cameras at Walmart we were ready to begin this fantastic adventure!
Whale sharks are not actually whales but the largest shark and fish weighing up to and more than 15 tons.They are harmless to humans and eat small fish krill, plankton, and squid that they consume through their sieve like gills. They are around Cancun between the months of June and September.
We arrived at the dock in Puerto Juarez around 8:00 am and set out in a speed boat with our friends, the captain and our guide. We headed past Isla Contoy which is about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Cancun and then our guide started looking for one of these massive creatures so that we could swim with them. Quite quickly our guide located a few whale sharks swimming close by so we proceeded to put on our fins, mask and snorkel. Only two people plus the guide can get in at a time to swim and you must not touch these awesome creatures so as not to disturb them too much. You must also hit the water swimming so to speak.Though they are not very fast swimmers it is very easy to fall behind and get caught up in the swoosh of their tails and it is then impossible to catch them up again.When it was my turn with Cesar , I dove off the boat and I was off— swimming full tilt toward the whale shark with my underwater camera in one hand wrapped around my wrist kicking furiously so that I wouldn’t get left behind. All of a sudden I was side by side, eye to eye with this amazing creature of the sea! It was incredible!! I frantically wound my underwater camera so that i could snap a shot which is no easy feat as remember you have to keep SWIMMING. I thrust it out to the side of me and hoped for the best as you can’t put it in front of your mask and eyes to get the perfect shot 🙂 I then kept swimming and just felt this incredible closeness between him as we connected with each other with our eyes. I finally couldn’t keep the pace up anymore and I stopped as he kept going and left me behind. I swam back to the boat exhausted but exhilarated by the whole experience! Our friends went next while I recovered my breath again. Then it was my turn again–yipppeee! I once again hit the water swimming this time all of a sudden I found myself above the whale shark looking down at him and I quickly swam to the left so that I would be at his side when he decided to surface; however, when he did surface we almost touched so I swam even more to the left though the urge to reach out and touch this creature was immense! I kept swimming alongside him until once again I was exhausted.
After we had all had a few swims we set off towards Isla Contoy again and settled near a reef to do some snorkelling. I managed to get some great shots as it was a lot easier when you aren’t swimming full tilt alongside your target. Once we were done the captain and the guide gave us some yummy ceviche and beer or soft drinks. We were starving. We ate our fill and enjoyed the boat trip back to Cancun. It had been a truly wonderful day and I will never forget our experience. We plan to do it again next year!