Whale Sharks! - Nature's Biggest Fish
In 7 years of diving, I've missed more whale shark sightings than the average diver - with something like 700 dives completed, I've never seen one. I'd stopped believing.
Each season on the Perhentians I'd miss the whale shark, either being on a visa run, taking a morning off, or the boat would be broken - I missed seeing these beautiful creatures time and time again. Until now. Now I believe!
We'd been told that a couple of friendly whale sharks had been seen regularly at one of the dive sites off Tenggol, so we dropped in, and waited - patience is a virtue and in two out of the three dives we tried at this point - the whale sharks turned up. Saturday - 16:30 - first attempt
- a whale shark glides past as we stop the boat. Unfortunately this is the only sighting for the dive. Sunday - 17:00 - 40mins in
- 5m whale shark - powers by - stays with us 2mins and dives deep.
I'm initially blown away by the size - this has to be the biggest thing I've been in the
water with - long, powerful, cutting through the water with methodical swishes of it's tail. Finning at the limit I can keep up with it's slowest speed - and then it dives.
45mins - the 5m whale shark returns, then bumps into a 3.5m whale shark covered with Ramorays - the smaller of the pair spends the following 30mins with us - rolling around in a diver air bubble bath, maybe enjoying the relief from the constant itching of the ramorays or maybe just enjoying the bubbles flowing around it's body. Buzzed beyond belief we stay in the shallow water until the light fades, and we run out of air. Monday - 12:00 - myself and Rich drop back in
- the last dive of the long weekend - hoping that we'd get some midday light to help with some photos.
35mins in - 5m whale shark - powers by - stays with us 30s and dives deep.
45mins in - 5m whale shark returns - starts circling us - then it's joined by a 4m shark - and the two of them circle us feeding for 35mins - when we run out of air.
Awesome awesome awesome
I'll jot down a few notes on the rest of the diving on Tenggol sometime soon.
I used a Canon G9 with underwater housing, edited all the photos in Picasa - quick and dirty - Rich SniffandSnore
- took down a Nikon D200 SLR - so when the blog is uploaded - you'll get to see the difference that $500 and $5000 makes to underwater photography
- well not entirely - at full size - the DSLR shots will be clearer and sharper than these - here at 600px - you'll get a rough idea though. Update:
Rich's blog is here: Gentle Giants....
Quick Update on KL Life
The idea of basing myself in Kuala Lumpur, a big vibrant city - but for a guy who loves nature, adventure - the city is a struggle - the move to KL was possible due to the amazing diving just a few hours away in pretty much any direction.
Starting a business is a huge amount of work, city life slowly eats into the weekends, birthdays, people passing through, exhaustion etc etc -
the weekends slowly get filled up, the long weekends away have to be planned further and further in advance. Luckily - with the help of my friends Richy and San (SniffandSnore
) - this was planned far enough in advance to happen
Thanks to San (organised the weekend), Rich (buddy), Terrence, Bernard, Lenny and Denise - also to Charlie, Wan and Robin (Tenggol) - additional commiserations to Lenny - who got flu on the island and missed out on the whale shark dives.
Stop Shark Finning - Save the Shark! Update: 2nd Feb 2010
- I've just been informed of a way in which whaleshark spotters can contribute to research and conservation of these beautiful fish. WhaleShark.org
- you make a report of the sighting, upload any photos that you have that show the spots above the left pectoral fin. This uniquely identifies the fish. I hope soon to have confirmation that these guys are hanging out at Ningaloo Reef currently
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