Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea. These colossal creatures can reach up to 40 feet (12.2 meters) in length. They can also weigh as much as 40,000lbs, with only some of the great whales being larger on the entire planet. However, despite their enormous size, these animals are actually very hard to spot. They are notoriously reclusive creatures and represent the Holy Grail of any diver’s career. Whale sharks only swim in specific waters around the world, usually warm and tropical areas, and they are often scared off by busier places. They’re found commonly off the coast of South Africa, Australia, and Mexico. However, your best chance of seeing one of these incredible creatures is probably in the Galapagos Islands.
Cruise the Galapagos Islands on a liveaboard dive adventure and you’ll really give yourself a good chance of coming face to face with these subaquatic giants. The best time of year to dive is from June to November. Because the Galapagos is located at the confluence of several major ocean currents, including the South Equatorial, Humboldt and Cromwell, the waters are rich in plankton at certain times of the year. This is the major food source for the whale, so your chances of seeing one are greatly increased at these times.
If you’re lucky enough to find a whale shark when you cruise the Galapagos Islands there are a few key things to remember. There is no real difference between diving with a whale shark or a ray, although there is much more of the whale shark to see. Always approach slowly and keep your distance at first. These are generally very peaceful creatures but they can get frightened, especially if you try and touch them.
Be patient and don’t rush because if you scare it off, your chances of catching it up again linger somewhere around the zero mark.
It’s important to make the most of any whale shark encounter you have. Many divers go under the water thousands of times and never even come close to glimpsing this astonishing creature. Of course, when you cruise the Galapagos Islands you’re not just on any old holiday, this is a very special place, and the whale sharks seem to think so too.
So, book your liveaboard dive cruise because you never know what you might encounter under the water.
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