Swimming with the Whale Sharks in Coral Bay

Swimming with the Whale Sharks

This was very special. I think it’s worth a post all to itself!

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The Whale Shark is the largest FISH in the ocean. They can reach 18 metres although this is rare. Typically a big one is a mere 12 metres! They eat small fish and plancton and are not dangerous.

Whales are bigger but they are mammels.

I was very lucky to see one. They had not seen any Whale Sharks in the past week so i was warned it  was probable we wouldn’t see one. The arrangement is that if you DON’T see a Whale Shark you can come back another day….

The boat sets off and a spotter plane searches an area of about 50 square kilometres. Whilst they are doing that, we did some snorkling over the Ningaloo Reef.

We saw sharks, turtles, sting rays and lots of colourful fish.

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Suddenly all hell broke loose….they had spotted a whale Shark some 25 miles away.

We were told to get back in the boat pronto. The boat then took off at maximum speed to reach the whale Shark.. All very exciting!

Whale Sharks are solitary fish. Not a lot is known about their migration  habits. It seems to vary. Not many have been successfully tagged apparently

We were given instructions on what to do and not to do. For example…if the whale Shark is coming towards you…..you must get out of the way QUICKLY as they won’t dodge you.

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Photo – the briefing

Eventually we reached the Whale Shark. They are unlike whales in that they don’t come up for air so they are hard to spot.

When we eventually reached him/her, one of the crew jumped in ahead of the Whale Shark and determines its direction. We are then called into the water and told to WATCH OUT!

The moment arrived and in we went!

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And within a few seconds there he/she was…We were within a couple of meters from the Whale Shark. it looked enormous. It took no notice of us and swam on at a leisurly pace. It couldn’t care less!

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They swim faster than us so after a few minutes we were called back into the boat and the whole operation was repeated.

Altogether we had about five dives. I was exhausted but it was a fantastic experience.

A note of caution should you visit Coral Bay or Exmouth to do a Whale Shark tour. Some have a spotter plane supporting 3-4 boats. In our case there was one boat and one spotter plane. In other words we had the Whale Shark to ourselves. I think it would have been chaos if there had been three or four boats chasing the same Whale Shark 

 

20 thoughts on “Swimming with the Whale Sharks in Coral Bay

  1. Glad you did it Geoff. How cold was the water? When we did it last year, nobody used wetsuits except me later in the day for our 5th dive ( I was the only whimp). Your photos are great, and the weather was obviously pretty calm. Ours was a bit rougher.
    J P and L

  2. What a great adventure Geoff.
    Barbara and I have visited Broome many times and now have another option while there.
    Wonderful photographs Geoff. Well done!
    Simon & Barbara Appel

  3. Hi Geoff, What a wonderful exciting experience……….envious!!!!
    Here’s hoping these waters will stay pristine and not be destroyed too.

  4. Amazing! Alex is very very jealous. I’ve convinced him he needs to become a famous geologist and employ me as his secretary so we can both go. Karen x

  5. Ah. That mustve been brilliant. One of your life’s special memories. (Apart from meeting Merry and dinners with us.)

  6. Hi Branners – Very slow to get on board this trip, but had some time this morning and must say it was a great time to join in with your whale shark expedition. As usual the photos are superb and I’m pleased to see everything (apart from the puncture) has gone so well. Good luck with the rest of the journey.

  7. What an amazing experience, Geoff, and such wonderful photos to share with us all.
    Weather looks fantastic, warm, sunny skies….much better than cold, grey Melbourne.
    Love,
    Wendy.

  8. Fantastic photos Geoff. How lucky were you to actually see one. All your pommie mates would be impressed as most of them probably can’t swim.
    Look forward to a first hand report
    Rod

  9. Hi Geoff, You are lucky to be there at this time of year. When Margie and I camped at Ningaloo a few years ago with John, Rachel and our grandchildren it was the wrong season. However, the corals and fish were spectacular as your photos show. Don’t hurry back to the cold,cloudy weather here in Melbourne with winter just starting. Enjoy Broome and have a beer for me at the Sunset Bar at the Cable Beach Club. Cheers, Ken

    • Maybe a detour to Exmouth or Coral Bay on your next visit to Broome Ken!
      I’m looking forward to meeting the family. I’m a bit easrlier than expected so I hope im not putting them out at all
      Hope all goes well at Probus.

  10. Fantastic! very exciting. Rachel, John & children have done this twice now so you will be able to chat about your exploits in Broome.

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