Was fortunate to see a Whale Shark for the 5th time in my life last week while snorkelling in the Maldives, but instead of the usual burst of jubilation that accompanies such encounters, I felt a great deal of shame and remorse getting out of the water
Here's why: Along with my boat we had about 30 boats in the area, with about 60 swimmers in the water risking their lives snorkelling in some of the choppiest waters I've ever snorkelled in, getting real close to some serious swell waves. We had one swimmer with a full face mask ( don't get one unless you have a death wish looming) cough out red foam ( as a result of water filling up lungs) - thankfully he was rescued in time.
My point, with 60 swimmers or so ( myself included) hounding this poor calf, it had no choice but to swim away as it was being chased in the water. I have been fortunate to spend several minutes with these fantastic creatures, and I assure you the bullshit Whale Shark snorkel tours with guaranteed Whale Shark sightings offered by most hotels are not worth it STAY AWAY FROM THEM ! As they do no service to the animal or the people that risk their lives for just a few seconds of a glimpse. I assure you, nothing beats doing an hour long dive and losing hope, and just about once the last drop of hope is about of spill you turn around and WOAH! THERE SHE IS !! A BUS OF AN ANIMAL LOOKING AT YOU IN THE EYE! When it comes to pelagics, don't take the easy way out! These encounters do very little but stress them out! Do go for Whale watching and Whale shark tours if you have to, but when you realize there are too many people in the water, exercise compassionate restraint - I wish I did !
Will post the encounter I had with a much bigger Whale Shark while diving in a couple of days, that according to me is the best way to see these guys!
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