We had heard about the opportunity to swim with whale sharks from some friends who had been there a few months prior and we knew we absolutely had to check it out. The sharks look so peaceful and wonderful in pictures - I could not have been more excited to get to see them in person! We drove down to the Southern part of the island to Oslob, where there is a cove that the whale sharks come into in the mornings. You pay the fee and then grab a snorkel and hop into a boat (well, more like a canoe) where they take you out a short ways and you immediately start seeing the beautiful whale sharks swimming around you.
The guys tell you to get out of the boat and you have about 30 minutes to swim around.
The sharks come right up to the surface to get food so you truly get to see them up close.
These sharks are huge – you can tell here the difference between the diver right below him – this was one of the biggest sharks. The locals who were manning our canoe called her the “Mama” and said she had been coming there for a long time.
The craziest part about these pictures is that we were taking them with cameras that don’t have any zoom - we were literally close enough to fully check them out. The photos below are not from the best camera in the world, but it made for some decent shots to give you a taste of what it was like.
You’re supposed to stay 4m away from them to keep both you and the whales safe, but sometimes they sneak right up on you…in fact, I got hit with the tail by one that swam right up past us (I’m in the yellow shirt in the picture below). It was incredible to be up close and personal to these gentle giants.
The whole experience was truly unbelievable – something I never thought I would do but I’m so happy that I did. It is such a wonderful memory to have all together. I highly recommend making a trip to do this if you get the chance.