The Whaleshark Encounter
Donsol Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
April 5th, 2008 – by: wanderlass
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.
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.
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.
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!
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