Whale Shark! I saw a whale shark! Woo-hoo! I’ve got close to 300 dives, but this is only my second sighting, and my first underwater (the other time was on the surface in Honduras), so it’s kind of a big deal . Totally harmless to humans, whale sharks are filter feeders that subsist on a diet of plankton and krill. They are also the largest fish in the ocean. Not this one, specifically. At 3-4 meters (10-12 ft), he was just a youngster. Adults can get as big as 12 meters (40 feet). Still impressive to see close up though. Those are cobia and remora swimming around him. I love how he traveled with his own little posse/ecosystem. But when you think about it, so do we. Our remoras are just much smaller. Spotted him at the Southwest Pinnacle dive site on Koh Tao, Thailand. Not really the right season for whale sharks. They are usually passing through here Apr-Jun, but that’s the cool thing about diving – you just never know what’ll be down there on any given day. There had been several sightings of a whale shark recently, but he always seemed to be where I wasn’t and, based on my experiences looking for mola mola in Bali, I figured that luck was bound to continue. Imagine my surprise when I saw him cruising along below me at about 20 meters. We were at 15 meters and, being the first boat boat at the site, there were only 6 of us in the water. We were all on our best behavior (e.g. no chasing, no touching) and eventually curiosity got the best of him and he came up for a closer look. He ended up checking us out for about nine minutes, nine of the best minutes I’ve had diving. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face all day. I trimmed the video down to 4 minutes, as some people may not be as enamored of watching a big fish swim as I am. I even threw in some pleasant, royalty-free acoustic guitar in the background for your listening pleasure, because that’s the kind of service the crack staff at TedTreks provides day in and day out.
Thanks to New Way Diving for the amazing experience and for always being first in the water. Totally worth the missed sleep.