On Sunday we were picked up at the caravan park to go on a while shark tour with 3 Islands Marine (AU $ 345,-). After pickup we drove to the boat ramp on the other side of the peninsula where a small speedboat took us to the larger vessel.
Our first stop was a snorkeling stop on Ningaloo Reef, about 1 km from the coast. It was great to snorkel around the coral and the tropical fish, frequently duck diving to the bottom; about 4 to 5 metres below.
After about 30 minutes of snorkeling we got the call from the spotter planes that they had found whalesharks, so we went for it. When we arrived at the location we were divided into two groups of 10 people, as only 10 people are allowed to swim with a whaleshark at one time (government rules). As there were also two other boats present, every boat had to take turns to have a group jump in to swim with the whaleshark.
When it was our turn we jumped in the water for our first swim with the whaleshark. At first I could not see anything but bubbles, and gazing around I could only make out deep blue water with the sun’s rays beaming down below to an endless depth. When looking into the direction of the guide, I could make out a giant mouth appearing in the distance, swimming right towards us. I swam to one side of it, getting close to the huge fish. It was really amazing to see such a huge creature swimming beside you. It was gently swimming forward while foraging for plankton with it’s mouth wide open; it’s (in comparison) tiny eyes watching us swim along.
I’ve frequently seen whalesharks on in documentaries, and I’ve always wanted to see and experience the sensation of seeing one myself. And today we even swam with 3 different whale sharks of about 8 to 9 metres in length. Small considered they can grow up to 18 metres in length. It was a very impressive experience
Afterwards we made another stop at the Ningaloo Reef for another snorkel round. This time we spotted a giant cod of about 2 metres on the bottom below the boat, and the massive sea turtle swimming around.
That night, back at the campsite, we had dinner with cheese, crackers and couple of bottles of rosé. It turned out to be a strange night, ending up with more rosé at Andy’s (the guy who made the whaleshark video that day) caravan. Us having too much to drink, Hilde & Jorinke singing Aussie songs, Andy trying to get them to stay for the night, us buggering off, etcetera