Whale sharks are included in the list of the biggest fishes in the world. They are estimated to have average lengths of 18 meters, more or less and weigh up to 22 tonnes, which is like an underwater bus swimming right at you. They are commonly inhabitants of the warm and tropical sea waters such as the Indian ocean, the Red Sea, Mexico
, South Africa and East Asia, specifically Philippines
. Generally speaking, whale sharks occupy warm seas above and below the equator, due to the suitable temperature of the waters there. The best time to dive with whale sharks in Mexico is from May to September. In other places, whale sharks can be seen all year round, so it is very easy to plan your scuba diving trip. Whale sharks have long lives of up to 70 to 100 years, so it is easy for you to catch a glimpse of these magnificent creatures on any one of your scuba diving experiences.
Observing and diving with whale sharks is a charm because they are very slow-moving creatures. Even though very large in size, they have a friendly behavior towards scuba divers, especially the young ones. Some scuba divers love playing with them or catch a small ride on their backs, which is quite a thrilling experience. If you are planning your scuba diving trip during the spring season, it is best suited that you travel to Australia, because diving with whale sharks is ideal at the continental shelf, to the west coast of Australia. Whale sharks are known to migrate to this region during every spring season.
The best part of diving with whale sharks is that they pose no risk or danger to human beings. They are very gentle filter feeders so diving around them is meagerly an issue. As you scuba dive around or near them, you will observe them feeding on plankton mostly, as they are sieving their food through their gills. On some occasions, they are interested in small schools of fish or their eggs.
Scuba divers from around the world have reported whale sharks to be solitude fish. While diving with whale sharks, it is very rare to come across a group of whale sharks. They prefer remaining alone. There are some factors to consider when it comes to diving with whale sharks. First of all, whale sharks are mostly found in warm waters, which could be in the open waters or along the coast of suitable areas. Besides that, diving with whale sharks is mostly carried out near the water surfaces, where these creatures are mostly found. While diving with whale sharks, it is easy to keep up because they swim very slowly, by moving their bodies from side to side. Their indifference to scuba divers gives for a remarkable scuba experience.
To date, the knowledge about whale sharks is quite limited. With more experience of scuba professionals, who absolutely cherish diving with whale sharks, which are awesome creatures, the database about these fish is growing. On any occasion, just to come across these giant sharks is a blessing in disguise.
Written by Nicolai, scuba diver and traveler. Follow me here, on Facebook
or on my blog DIVE.in