Snorkeling with Whale Sharks

Trip Start Apr 05, 2008
Trip End Mar 20, 2009

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Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Saturday, July 19, 2008

Just before 5am we're waiting outside our hotel sitting in the gutter like street urchins or looking at the number of people just finishing up for the night like drunken party revelers. We're soon joined by an Aussie girl, Bec, who has also signed up for the tour. It's a three hour hurtling ride in a mini van where most of the bus sleeps. We arrive in a small fishing village and jump aboard speed boats to take us out to Holbox Island. The island is so picturesque and low key with white sands and Caribbean waters it's a true paradise. If we'd known it was like this we would have bought all our gear and stayed here for a few days. We debrief here and get our marine park passes before heading out in search for whale sharks. Not long in and the crew are pointing our dolphins but these dolphins are not swimming with the boat. They're busy frolicking, it's mating season. Leaving them to it we continue on and after about 45 minutes we catch sight of our first whale shark. These mammals are incredibly big but so docile. They move rapidly through the water with their hoover like gob open devouring plankton. As there's a couple of boats already swimming with this whale shark we go in search of our own and soon the first two swimmers are in the water swimming alongside. They only allow groups of two with a guide in the water at all times. It allows you to get really close. Gareth and I are soon leaping in the water for our turn. I get the shock of my life as I jump in and practically come face to face with it's hoover mouth. It's such an exhilarating experience to be swimming with this massive creature. At one point I'm almost side swiped but it's tail which sweeps side to side in a similar fashion to a shark. Gareth's busy trying to swim in front of it to get some great photos. Everyone gets to go in the water about three times before we go in search of a Manta Ray. They crew have eyes like hawks and soon spot a couple of giant Manta Rays although we're soon told that these guys are just babies, would be incredible to meet Mum and Dad then. Having never seen one they look like something out of a sci-fi movie. They move like lightening too. Soon everyone's plunging off the boat swimming like crazy to keep up with them. Gareth and one of the Danes are soon miles from the boat lost in their own little private mission to keep up with the Rays. Topping off our trip we spot a couple of turtles shagging. We watch these guys for about a minute when the female decides she's obviously has had enough. She takes a loud deep breath raising her head and then bucks the male off and they disappear under the water. Gareth's comment makes all the boys on the boat laugh 'typical woman', strangely us girls are quiet ;-) This has definitely been a highlight of the trip, such an incredible experience. The bus ride back is extremely quiet with everyone catching up on some zzz's. We hang out with Bec for the evening and finish off the night with some drinks and sushi. Happy Birthday to my sister Bec, we had a few beers in your honour to celebrate!
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