If you have the opportunity to snorkel alongside one of these gentle giants of the sea, believe me it is an experience you will remember for the rest of your life.
Whaleshark Season in Western Australia runs from late March until usually the end of June.
If you haven’t snorkeled before, don’t worry – as long as you can swim competently, the Instructors at the various Whaleshark Tour Operators in Coral Bay and Exmouth will look after you.
At the same time every year, these beautiful creatures visit the North-West Cape and feast upon the myriad plankton and krill that fill the waters of the Ningaloo Reef when the coral is spawning.
They are actually the largest of the shark family, but unlike the man-eating legends of Hollywood’s spin, these graceful fish are gentle and harmless to mankind. If only the converse was true as well. Certain countries are still known to commit barbaric acts towards them.
They can grow up to 18 metres (about 60’) in length, though the ones who visit Ningaloo each year are typically between four to twelve metres, and weigh up to 15 tonnes with a mouth that can be over a metre wide. If frightened they will usually dive and have been known elsewhere to achieve depths of 700 metres!
The various tour operators take you to the outside of the reef, and after testing your skills with a practice swim and snorkel, they give you a great lunch on board.
Then they have spotter planes in the air, looking for whalesharks. When they find one, they radio the co-ordinates to the boats.
The skipper will position the boat so that the snorkeling group can enter the ocean directly in the path of the whaleshark. Imagine your excitement as a living creature the size of a small boat comes into your line of sight surrounded by a host of other smaller fish.
“I had the joy of swimming alongside a whaleshark that measured around 8½ metres and looking it in the eye. The sense of tranquility is truly amazing.”
Tony Inman, Club Red CEO
Of course you will also see plenty of other wonderful creatures during the day in this very special marine park.
Don’t miss this spectacle. It’s not cheap but you won’t regret it.