The following morning we woke up at 6:45am for our 7:30 meeting at the Whaleshark Interaction center. We checked in and signed our waiver forms, watched a video on the rules and regulations for interacting with the Whalesharks (Butanding in the local language) and then we waited to get on our boat.
We headed for the boat with another wonderful couple that we had met the day before on our dive trip, and they were expats from Hong Kong in Donsol for the weekend as well. On the boat we had a Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO), a boat captain, about about three spotters who were responsible for seeing the whalesharks.
A lot of the way was spent with our fins and masks on waiting to jump in the water after the whalesharks. When the spotters finally saw a shark they would alert the captain and the BIO and we would rush off to the location. When we got close to the whalesharks we would jump in the water, tumble around, and swim as hard as possible to keep up with the shark. The whaleshark generally would come into sight and fill the entire field of vision with its size and yet somehow at times you felt like it was sneaking up on you. The entire scene as times was a mass of people, a chaotic jump start into the water, but we also had a couple swims with almost no other boats, saw a dorsal fin break the water and had a wonderful experience seeing the whalesharks.
The whalesharks were simply huge creatures but yet gentle. They didn’t seem to mind humans very much and if they did they promptly swam deeper or faster than we could, and thus got away quickly.
We swam with them for three days before heading back to Singapore. See photos below.
|Our Trusty Boat|
|Getting Ready to Jump In…spent hours like this|
|Is he looking at us?|
|Sideshot of the Whaleshark|
|Looking down on the Whaleshark|
|Tail – almost too close for comfort|
Here are two videos as well:
We also got to see a perfectly shaped volcano, Mount Mayon in Legazpi City and enjoyed a few gorgeous sunsets in our little beach community.