The Whaleshark Encounter

Donsol Travel Blog

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practice breakfast at bulalohan
11 hours later, we arrived in Legaspi, impressively on schedule but not without mishaps. All except us in the bus knows where they are and are each getting off at their respective stops around the small town. We were to get off at the satellite terminal where we'll meet the gang from the other bus and where 2 vans were waiting to take us to our resort. 

I guess the problem lies in the terminal didn't look anything like a terminal. It looks like a big empty parking lot with a neglected old pumping station. So we didn't.  Many meters later, seem that we're the only people in the bus so Beth went to have a few words with the driver and immediately, the bus stopped to let us off --  in the middle of nowhere, Legaspi, Bicol.
picturesque mt. mayon
Fortunately, nowhere has a small 'bulalohan' where we had our instant coffees and practice breakfast for some. Lol.

Shortly after breakfast, the van found us and we were on our way to our supposed destination.  It was a winding but scenic 1-half hour ride from Legazpi to Donsol with the majestic view of Mayon Volcano.  We arrived at Amor Resort around 8:30AM where we had our breakfast, buffet style. We met again the organizer, Ging, who's cool and composed despite the glitches. It can be confusing keeping 28 people informed and in place. 

One of the resort staff walked us to the tourist center where we register for the whaleshark encounter.  A boat can sit 7 people so our group needed 4.
the spotter
  Because it's high season and a long weekend at that, there were a lot of people and we had to wait a bit for boats while getting video orientation.

Finally, it's our turn! A Butanding Interaction Officer (BIO) introduced himself and walked us to our boat.  A boat will have a BIO, an elevated spotter, and a couple of boatmen. The spotter will "spot" for whaleshark, then the boat will go there, and then the BIO will give us the signal to jump in the water.  And then, swim (for your life) after the whaleshark!  We had 3 encounters. 1 while on the boat and a shark swam passed us, JAWS style, with just the fin above water but too fast that we didn't even have time to jump in. 

Then everyone start to get giddy again and finally we were told to jump! And we did! I followed the BIO and finned and swam as fast and hard as I can.
after 1st encounter
  And finally, as if in slow motion, a giant white-spotted creature glided beneath me, less than 3 feet away.  It was only a few seconds but it seemed to dragged on very slowly.  I'm completely mesmerized the whole (short) time. It was great because it was swimming towards us, but 3 feet below. So we saw the whole length pass beneath us!  What an amazing experience it was! 

We jumped in a few times and I had another encounter after but not as great, because it was deeper & farther down the water.  I was never good with threading in water, but it was fun finding out that with fins, it's easy to keep afloat.  But I have problem swimming with snorkel while chasing the whaleshark because I kept breathing through it, because I'm used to regulators in my mouth when in water. Anyway, so later I just took it off and swam without it. 

So in the end, I had 3 sightings, some had 2 only, one of our friend didn't even if she was always the first to jump in.  The earlier boat had 5 spottings.  We were told that earlier in the morning is better because by mid-morning there are usually too many boats and this makes the whalesharks less social.  

I highly recommend this experience! I will definitely do this again next year!



Airportman says:
Nice blog :)
Posted on: Jun 13, 2010
wanderlass says:
april.. its probably best time between march and april. my friend went in may and din spot any
Posted on: Aug 01, 2008
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practice breakfast at bulalohan
practice breakfast at bulalohan
picturesque mt. mayon
picturesque mt. mayon
the spotter
the spotter
after 1st encounter
after 1st encounter
early morning view
early morning view
cloud capped mt. mayon
cloud capped mt. mayon
stranded in legaspi
stranded in legaspi
Hello Bicol
Hello Bicol
Amor Farm Resort
Amor Farm Resort
Amor Farm Resort
Amor Farm Resort
breakfast @ Amor Farm Resort
breakfast @ Amor Farm Resort
marching to the tourist office
marching to the tourist office
the whaleshark briefing
the whaleshark briefing
whaleshark
whaleshark
whaleshark
whaleshark
whalesharks tail
whaleshark's tail
whaleshark
whaleshark
whaleshark
whaleshark
whaleshark
whaleshark
whaleshark
whaleshark
BUTANDING encounter
WHALESHARK encounter
BIOMAN
BIOMAN
happy people
happy people
excited
excited
Clockwise from the only guy: Sven,…
Clockwise from the only guy: Sven…
happy bunch
happy bunch
Donsol Hotels & Accommodations review
recommended donsol hotel
My first time in Donsol so can't compare it with other nearby resort, but my overall experience here was great. Nice cozy huts with clean toilet and b… read entire review
Donsol
photo by: Deats