Whale sharks are the largest of all sharks, and the largest species of fish in the world. They can reach an incredible length of 18m (55 feet) and an estimated weight of almost 45,000kg (100,000lbs). They are massive, but gentle creatures that can be found in almost all tropical waters around the world. They are capable of migrating great distances and very little is known about why they travel so extensively. We are now only beginning to understand these beautiful animals.
These photographers and videographers have chartered a boat through Searious Diving, an ethical tour operation that places the greatest priority on marine conservation and responsibility. They have been instrumental in working with government officials in Mexico to establish regulations for whale shark tour companies. They strictly adhere to requirements and limits that keep the whales safe and protected from improper human influence.
The group on board set out to record the whale sharks and study their behaviour. They had hoped for an opportunity to closely observe the whale sharks in their natural environment. They received more than they dared to hope for in this encounter with a shark that circled their boat, feeding on fish eggs and plankton. They carefully slipped into the water and were delighted to see that whale shark turned and actually headed straight toward them. It repeatedly turned and cruised past as it fed, possibly curious about their presence in the water. The swimmers relied on the guidance of their tour guides to make sure that they did not affect the whale sharks as they made their recordings.
Scientists have been trying to collect data on these creatures to determine where they go for breeding, giving birth, and feeding. There is still a lot that nobody knows. Scientists have been unable to record a birth or even observe baby whale sharks in nature.
Meeting such a massive and gentle whale shark is an experience that will last a lifetime. Anyone considering such an adventure should research their tour companies and should select one that will give them an experience that does not place stress on the whale sharks in the process.