Swimming with Whale Sharks
Are you looking for a new stopover option on your way to Europe? It’s well known you can stopover in Asia or the Americas to break up your journey to Europe, and experience a taste of a new destination, but the West Coast of Australia is almost half-way too! You can easily incorporate a stop in Perth/Fremantle…or make your stop really special and fly north to Exmouth and swim with Whale Sharks on the Ningaloo Reef in the Indian Ocean!
Whale Sharks are the largest fish in the ocean, their season is March – September…it works in really well with Kiwis travelling during our winter to escape the cold, and you can swim with them!
In May 2018 I went up to Learmonth to embark on a short road trip and swim with the whale sharks. Our day trip was with Ningaloo Reef Dive which operates out of Coral Bay and is a full day snorkeling excursion which includes your gear and lunch/snacks during the day. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect, there was a range of people on our boat – young kids and older swimmers, but it was safe and super well organized for everyone.
At our first snorkeling spot we swan with stingrays, turtle, an array of fish and saw beautiful vibrant coral. There were schools of tuna feeding near the surface and birds looking for something to eat. The boat works with a small plane which goes out to spot the whale sharks and direct the boats towards them. There is a good relationship between boat companies – they share location information to make sure clients have the best chance of seeing/swimming with the whale sharks. It does take a couple hours to get out to where the sharks may be and we were lucky enough to swim 3 times with a shark which was cruising along the reef.
The way to swim with a whale shark is to be dropped into the ocean from the boat in front of them and then scoot out of the way, turn and then slowly swim alongside them. I felt very safe – it’s a pretty incredible experience!
As part of the crew they have a photographer on board who will take pics of you snorkeling and lots of images of the snorkeling spots and whale shark so you can just enjoy the experience. The photo package was $70 but for a couple it’s really worth it.
See my photos and see if this is something you’d like to do!