Swimming with the Butanding!
Ok so I ripped this photo off from the internet, cos I didn't have an expensive underwater camera to take my own picture. But you get the idea. Even though the visibility of the water wasn't quite as clear as in this picture, the butanding was indeed as large, and the feeling was as exhilarating as it looks. Simply fantastic...
I was floored.
Not literally, of course. I couldn't be, since I was treading water in the middle of the sea.
But the very first time I caught sight of the butanding (whale shark), it was swimming literally just one foot under me! And it was huge!
A simply fantastic experience, as we managed to catch multiple "swims" with the butanding, which almost seemed unpeterbed by the dozens of snorkelling tourists bobbing up and down the surface, eager to swim alongside or catch as long a sight of it as possible.
The water was quite murky, so in fact you couldn't really see past a few metres, which made it all the more incredible when you do catch sight of the butanding, because it meant that it was barely inches from you!
I'm still a little heady thinking back about the experience, and even more so when I think about how discouraged I was the first time I made the trip down to Donsol from Legazpi, only to be told I was late, the boats had already left, and so I had to return another day. Stricken by a viral flu, I wondered if
The Lovely Seaside Town of Dancalan
And the rustic catamarans that we took to go out to sea.
it was just not meant to be, and if I should just forsake my plans, especially after the French tourist told me there had been no butanding sightings the prior two weeks.
So it really was very fortuitous that not only did we catch sight of one, but even managed to get multiple swims alongside the surface-feeding gentle giant. My perseverance paid off!
It's hard to explain or describe the feeling and sight, and I didn't have an underwater camera, so I ripped off a photo from the web for this blog.
And with Donsol being pretty much my last destination before I return to Manila for my flight out, Philippines has certainly reserved the best for last for me!
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