I was very excited a couple of days ago to see Mr Whaleshark appear on our dive out at Hin Muang! Whalesharks have been a bit elusive this year, turning up only a few times over christmas, so i was super excited when he came out of the blue, cruising along the reef towards us!
My last Whaleshark sighting was out at Ko Haa last February, thats 15 whole months ago! So I was beginning to wonder if I would be lucky enough to see one at all this season. But we had heard that there had been a few sightings at Hin Muang in the 4 or 5 days prior to us heading out, so everyone on the boat was a little hopeful we would see one too.
The currents on the reef were as strong as i’ve ever experienced out there, which is good for seeing big stuff while they feed on the plankton, but not so good for air consumption! At about 35 mins into the dive, because i knew it would take a few minutes, i decided to start making my way back to the buoyline and begin my ascent.
It was at this point, while i was fighting with the current, i looked up and saw Mr Whaleshark sauntering towards me as if he was swimming in a pond! The power of these animals is immense and you really get a feel for it when you see how easily they move through the water, current or no current!
So while squealing into my reg, i fumbled around and eventually got my camera into the setting i wanted, then managed to get a few shots as he swam by. He stayed around for a few moments, doubling back on himself and coming towards us again, then hanging in the current at the end of the reef before moving off into the blue.
By this point, air was low and bottom time had almost bottomed out, so very reluctantly I made my way to the buoyline and made my safety stop while scanning the blue for one last glimpse, which sadly was not to be. But to have seen him for the few moments I did was enough and I was a very happy photographer for the rest of the day!
These amazing creatures are becoming rarer and rarer due to the shark finning industry and their natural curiosity which puts them in close proximity to boats, so getting to see them in the ocean is a privilege. Therefore I’ll take my few moments with this Whaleshark and be happy knowing i’m one of a very small number of people who get to share this fantastic experience.