A full plate of whale shark, with a side order of seasickness

Exmouth Travel Blog

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One of the other boats sharing our whale shark and spotter plane

Today was whale shark day, a day I've been looking forward to ever since I knew I was going to be living in WA. All I can say is that I definitely wasn't disappointed! OMG it was an amazing feeling to be swimming along side a 5 metre long shark who is just calmly swimming along, without a care in the world. It's tough to keep up with them but with the awesome visability, we had a magnificent view of the shark (5 different times!). The funny part is that there were a bunch of smaller fish swimming along side of him, using his giantness to hide from predators.

Ok so here's how the day went:

I walked over to Exmouth Diving Centre for 6:50am, which is convienently located next door to my hostel, Potshot Hotel. Once everyone arrived and checked in, we were off to the boat launching place in our mini bus.

On board our boat
I wasn't too happy to be on a bus again, but if it's for whale sharks, then it's all worth it :)

Once we arrived at the boat launch, two smaller boats came by and picked us and our equipment up. There was an option to pay $60 extra and do a dive at the first "snorkelling" spot. Since the day cost $385 without the diving fee, I decided it would be a snorkelling day. I'm happy with my decision since the diving spot didn't look that great. Although it was even worse for the three of us snorkelling. It was quite deep so I couldn't really see much of anything except some larger fish waaaaaay down below.

By the time we were finished at the dive site, I was already feeling queasy from being on the boat. One of the other women was also feeling bad but was feeling worse than me.

About to jump in for a quick snorkel
I think she was the only one to actually throw up during the trip :(

Once all the divers were on board, we had to wait until the spotter plane spotted a whale shark and then we were to sail over to the location. To save money for the operators and to have the plane in the air longer, they share the cost of the spotter plane. This means that once a shark is spotted, the closest boat goes first and then after a 10 minute swim, they "pass" the shark off to the next boat. Fortunately for us, there were only 10 of us (the maximum amount of people allowed in the water at a time), so everytime it was our boat's "turn", we got the full 10 minutes to play with the shark.

We only had to wait about 5 minutes before the call was made and the shark was found about a 5 minute sail from where we were.

In the water waving to everyone on the boat
It's difficult to explain the feeling you have when you're waiting to jump in. Everyone was ready at the end of the boat with our masks, snorkels and fins on (you had to crawl along the deck to get to the platform). We were all impatiently waiting for the "go" which meant "haul butt into the water because the sharks a comin'!". That first time I was so excited I can't describe it. When we got in the water and swam to the spotter he had the unfortunate duty to tell us the shark had dove down and was out of sight. It was so disappointing. The good thing about these companies is that if you don't see a shark, you get to take the tour again for free. The bad thing was that I couldn't picture myself getting back on that boat for another day of nausea. So I was hoping that we would see one (and I would have settled with one!)

A few minutes later we got the call saying the shark was back up, excitingly we all jumped back in the water.

But once again, the shark disappeared.

The day was not looking so great at this point and I was starting to question whether or not my stomach could handle another day on the boat.

Then, we got another call and we all jumped in the water. I was one of the last in and ducked my head under to see if I could see it. All of a sudden it appeared and looked like it was right in front of me (it was probably a couple metres away and slightly to the side). I literally yelled into my snorkel "holy f%$#!". I was so surprised at how big the thing was it almost scared the S%$# out of me!! haha After the initial shock wore off and the spotter pulled me away from the shark (you have to be 3 metres away from it's body and 4 metres from its tail at all times) I started swimming along side of it with the rest of the people on the boat.

Two older guys were from Germany and were swimming to close to the shark. Afterwards, the spotter guy told us never to go in front of it, because it would be like getting hit by a bus! (and it would dive down and that person would ruin the fun for everyone).

After our 10 minutes of swimming alongside it ended, we were all to stop immediately and let the next boat of people pick up where we left off. Although we were "sharing" the shark with a couple other boats, there wasn't much time on the boat by the time you got back on board, caught your breathe and got ready to go again.

I ended up swimming with the shark 5 times. By then I felt so sick that laying on the boat seemed like a better idea than to jump back in the water. A few other people had the same idea. The rest jumped in with a different shark for a swim. He was about 2-3 metres long.

After our shark swimming ended, we happily sailed to a more calm area and had a lunch of cold cuts, roast chicken, pasta salad, tuna and bean salad, potatoe salad, bok choy salad and a fruit platter. I was surprised at how much I was able to eat, but the calm water helped my stomach ALOT!

We had the chance to snorkel in the area so I jumped in. It wasn't great but it was fun to see some (much) smaller fishies.

After the snorkel, we sailed back in and back to the dive shop. They had a dvd to purchase but there was only about 5-7 minutes of footage. Although a dvd of the whale shark swimming would have been awesome, the $50 price tage seemed a bit too much for 5 minutes of whale shark.

Today was long and exhausting but totally worth it. I'm going to have dreams of the giant whale shark tonight!

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One of the other boats sharing our…
One of the other boats sharing ou…
On board our boat
On board our boat
About to jump in for a quick snork…
About to jump in for a quick snor…
In the water waving to everyone on…
In the water waving to everyone o…
photo by: rollerblading