WHALESHARK! WHALESHARK! Get in the water!
That's the call that echoed across Manta Queen 6. Our on-board Whaleshark expert, Judith, was able to spot the 4 meter long juvenile beauty from the back of our dive deck close to Richelieu Rock!
Relaxing along side our boat, this majestic creature was waiting for us to jump in! As people scrambled to collect their snorkeling equipment and cameras, we were reminding everybody of the calm nature of these gentle giants.
The way it works with the Whalesharks is like this: they will match your behavior and react to divers the way the divers react to it. If you remain calm, so will they. If you stay still and stay close together, the whalesharks will stay still and close to us as well. But this is much more easily said than done. When you spot these amazing creatures, your mind draws a blank at the sheer wonder at what you are seeing. If you lose your mind and chase after it, excited and using rapid movements... The sharks will get excited as well. Problem is, if you swim at it quickly, it'll swim away just as fast. Not good.
Unfortunately, in our third dive, another dive shop lost their minds and chased after the colossal beast. All we saw under the water was strangers telling us there's a shark out in the blue. We were upset. As dive professionals in pristine Similan National Marine parks, they should know better. As we got to the back deck we explained to our heart broken guests exactly what happen... As a good example of what NOT to do.
But somewhere in between luck and karma exists something that found its way to bless us with its good graces. As we were drying off, we spotted our massive friend!... as if he knew we didn't get a chance to say hello. Every person on our boat got to swim with this amazing creature of the deep. And best of all, our boat was amazing. No one chased it, no one lost their minds. And for what seemed like an eternity, the whaleshark swam all around us on its own. Under our legs, in between us and our friends, over and over and over again!
This is what we were talking about. Remain calm, remain still, and these friendly fish will enjoy our company just as much as we enjoy theirs.
It was an amazing trip! Every moment was great. We saw everything from serene sunrises to majestic Manta Rays. But our snorkeling surface interval with the whaleshark was definitely a highlight of our trip.
A huge congrats to Louis, Barbara, Oliver, Chris, and Mattias on becoming PADI Advanced Divers! Big round of applause to the birthday girl, Zhzefina, and her husband Martin for finishing their PADI Open Water Courses! And finally a warm congratulation to our brand new PADI Nitrox divers, Chris, Nick, Poppy Lee, and Barnabas Maximus!
Very fun getting to know you all!