Can you guess what the largest fish in the world is? Aww, darn, my title gave it away already? Wow, getting creative over here, aren’t I?
So. The largest fish in the world is the whale shark, or Rhincodon typus. It’s found in most parts of tropical ocean on Earth, and you can dive with them in places ranging from the Galápagos Islands to South Africa to the Philippines.
One of the reasons we chose a Philippines getaway in the first place was because there was so much adventure to be had, and I’ll tell you, this was right up there with ’em. “‘Em” being the most terrifying/crazy/exciting things I’ve ever done. Okay, I take back the terrifying part. …Other than the brief moment in time when we were on the boat and I was ready to turn around.
Seriously, though, we departed our B&B quite early in the morning because the whale shark excursions only run from 7am to noon. I don’t know much about fish and the environment, but it seems the folks running this tourist trap are doing it sensibly – by limiting the timeframe, they don’t overfeed the sharks, but they can pretty much guarantee there will be at minimum 6 whale sharks there for people to swim with on any given day. They also have strict rules on how close you are permitted to be to the whale shark, no flash photography as well as no sunscreen wearing allowed. Supposedly there is a marine biologist monitoring the tourists all day and you can get a hefty fine or up to 6 months in jail if you do something wrong. Take note, kids, don’t get closer than 4 meters from the whale shark!
Once we completed orientation, we were ready to go out on the boat. No, this isn’t a caged or tank experience, you are literally out in the open water with these massive, massive creatures. It’s a couple minute boat journey with some guides out to the spot where you just jump in and go at it! Observing, that is.
We were allotted about 30 minutes in the water with the fish before we got lost trying to find what happened to our boat guy. There were several boats out and between all the salt water and trying to avoid jail, we were a little disoriented finding our guides.
I will say, we need some more practice with the GoPro to get some better underwater shots on our next adventure, but we’re working on it. Overall it is a one-of-a-kind experience. Maybe we will be able to make it back and try some underwater photography again.
Check out some video below: