“Go go go!” shouted the boat captain. I was dangling my fin covered feet over the edge of the boat, camera in hand and Javier right next to me…this was a “Bucket List” moment to swim with Mexico’s giant Whale Sharks. There was no time to waste, you had to push off right as the captain said to or you would miss your chance. Splash….Splash! Javier and I jumped in, looked down and saw we were right on top of the largest fish in the sea – a 40 foot 20 ton Whale Shark. I could have grabbed on and went for a ride I was that close. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s massive grey body and it’s unique white spots was all I could see. It was even more breathtaking through a snorkel.
Splash…Splash! I was going in for round 3. Javier wasn’t with me this time because the rocking of the boat on the open sea got to his stomach. That only meant, this next gentle beast was all mine. “Go go go!” I caught up doing the one arm, two legged swim (I was holding my camera dah). It opened it’s mouth wide and sucked in gallons of water at a time. It could have eaten me whole! Good thing these sharks are only filter feeders and their favorite snack is plankton…..not human meat. This one was calmer and didn’t swim away. It allowed me a few more seconds of pure joy. It dived into the black hole below me, the deepest water I’ve ever swam in. That was a site to see except for the fact that it was heading right back up and I was in it’s way! But never fear, it turned out to make some great video footage for the memory bank.
I was on cloud 9. I may not show my emotions that well but I felt it. This was my 2nd attempt and we did it! (First attempt to swim with Whale Sharks in 2011) On the way back wild dolphins accompanied us on either side of the boat to Isla Mujeres. There we were able to soak in the shallow blues to refresh our way out of motion sickness. There we swam in the clearest of blue waters I’ve ever seen, ate the best ceviche I’ve ever eaten, all while thinking about one of the best bucket list items I’ve ever done. Check! ✓
Watch this whale shark get creative about finding food!