Whale Sharks, Ningaloo Reef

Trip Start Mar 31, 2004
Trip End Jul 14, 2005

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Flag of Australia  ,
Monday, May 23, 2005

We arrive at Coral Bay on the 19th May and are very impressed with how beautiful it is. We get the togs on and head straight to the beach for a snorkel. Great fun until both of us cut our feet on the coral. Thomas is ok but I keep bleeding, youch. Tiger sharks start to circle...
The next morning starts with a trip to the nurse. Thankfully no stitches required but told to stay out of the water for at least 24 hours. Promptly ignore nurses advice and Thomas and I head down for a swim, me improvising with a rubbish bag and a couple of hairbands to try and make a waterproof cover for my foot. It fails miserably but I continue snorkeling to see all the amazing fish and Thomas spots a sea snake!! It wasn't really one, it's classed as a sea eel but looks very like a poisonous sea snake.

Then it's the big day....The Whale Sharks!!! We have been looking forward to this day for sooo long and it's finally arrived. We wake up to glorious sunshine and calm waters. We head down to the dive centre and get our wetsuits on before heading out on the boat. We stop first for a snorkel inside the reef where Thomas and I spot a turtle. He is absolutely amazing and swims right along beside us for ages, face by face and we're checking each other out. He isn't fazed by our presence at all and very much on the go slow. Also swim alongside a huge potato cod, same size as me and he looked mean, so i slowly backed away from the angry fish... Then we hear shouts telling us to get back on the boat - a whale shark has been spotted by the spotter plane. We jump back on the boat and get all our gear on. As we get closer the tummy starts to flutter...we're about to jump into the middle of the Indian Ocean to swim with the biggest fish in the world! We arrive at the spot and we slide off the back of the boat into the deep blue. At first I can't see anything and then this thing appears out of the blue. Swimming towards me was an 18ft whale shark! It was Bloody Awesome! The colours and features are incredible, the water clear enough to make out every detail. We swim with her (it was a female which is supposedly very unusual) for about 15mins before being told to regroup to let the next team in the water. While wallowing in the water we feel the pinch of the jellyfish around us and start to have visions of Open Water 2! We then spent the next 1.5hrs taking turns in our groups to swim with the shark. She is absolutely beautiful and very curious, following the boat and some of the swimmers (including Thomas!). Moving pretty slowly she gives us the chance to admire the markings on her body and I can't get away with how huge the tail is, almost the same size as me. The shark dives down deeper giving us the chance to swim above her for a while before she comes back up along side us.

After 1.5hr our time is up as this is all the time you are allowed to spend with any one whale shark. We then head to snorkel at a shark cleaning station. We see a 2 metre tiger shark from the boat on our way there which doesn't instil much confidence in us! Arrive and imagine the carwash out of Shark Tale and you're almost there! We get to see loads of grey and white tip reef sharks, some swimming along with their mouths open, exposing all their teeth and allowing the little fish to clean them. Pretty awesome sight and thankfully they aint hungry for our flesh but are happy enough to have us around.
And that was that. We head back to shore and the trips over. It's been our most amazing day on the travels so far, a very bizarre fabulous feeling about what we got up to do today!
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