Whale Shark diving

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Hi there!


My husband and I are looking for the best place to swim with whale sharks, preferably towards the end of 2020. We have many friends who were a little disappointed with their trip, so, we want to make sure that we pick the right place.


So far, whilst doing research, we didn’t come across particularly exciting tours, but we did come across this article The Best Places to Swim With Whale Sharks | Animals Around the Globe showing us some of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks.


So now, we were thinking of somewhere off the coast of Mexico. Does anyone have any recommendations of hidden spots or great areas they went to concerning whale sharks?


Thank you so much,


Laura
 

Mike1967

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Hi Laura,

As you can see from the article, Exmouth is the only place in Australia there's whale sharks. Maybe the Australia forum isn't the best place for your post. Good luck.

Mike
 

Kharon

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Thanks for the link. Interesting. I am starting to plan a trip to Isla Mujeres for July or August 2020. My reading suggests that it's possibly clearer water than Isla Hobox. I still want to do a bit more research.

Options are booking the entire thing myself or booking with WetPixel Wetpixel Whale Sharks 2020 :: - I'd like to do the WetPixel trip but it's pretty spendy for me. I need a single room so that adds a single suppliment ($475) to $3150. That doesn't include airfare to Cancun and breakfast and dinner. I'm pretty sure I can do the trip much less expensively if I book everything myself. I'll have to see if that's true before deciding.

I went to Placencia, Belize last May on the full moon for 10 days and that was a total waste of money.
 

Manuel Sam

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You should go to the Mexico Forum and read what is there, but I wholeheartedly agree that Isla Mujeres, where I have been to twice, is much better than Holbox, just from the standpoint of visibility. When I see the head of the whaleshark, I'd also like to see the tail and it is not as likely when the water is peasoup green. Isla Mujeres is blue water, some 10 or more miles out, and of course, the reason that the viz there isn't superb is because there is so much food in the water for the whalesharks to feed on . That is why they are there.

But the whalesharks are in Isla Mujeres only during the summer months, So for the OP, Isla Mujeres would not be an option. I think that if the OP wishes to go to Mexico towards the end of the year, the place to go would be La Paz, where the whalesharks are present at least into November. However, the water there is also not that clear, based on my one time there, and there does not seem to be as many whalesharks there - or if they are there, I just couldn't see all of them because of the poor viz.

The beauty of doing the Wetpixel trip is that they go out on a boat that is all whaleshark business. That means that you get a lot more drops in the water and stay out there longer than the average tourist boat that offers whaleshark tours. Unless you charter your own boat with a few friends, and get the operator to agree to get out to the site early, stay out there for as long asther eis action (unlike the tourist boats), in which case, it may still come out cheaper than the Wetpixel trip but you still get the quality.

Again, if you go to the Mexico Forum, you will find a lot of good info, including what the two cents' I have written in the past.
 

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The best places to swim with the whalesharks depend on whether you want to see them by snorkeling or diving. Here are my experiences in snorkeling & diving with whalesharks.

If you want to see them by snorkeling, Isla Mujeres, Mexico could be the best one with high chance to see them around August to September in clear blue water, not in greenish, cold & murky water of Holbox, Mexico. I also went to Utila, Honduras, but striked out with no whaleshark and got bitten badly by sandflies (noseeum), so no more Utila for me.

In Isla Mujeres during the summer time, the whalesharks gather there in hundreds to filter the snapper eggs. Check out how many they are in drone pictures (by Oscar Reyes, in August, 2009, Scientists discover the largest assembly of whale sharks ever recorded ) below. They are as big as the boats (white specks).

D463714D-EBEE-402F-B2A1-C38643EC0163.jpeg
DA6276A7-7842-4657-AF3E-3D63E7EBD656.jpeg


Here is a video I took in July 4, 2017.


If you want to see them by diving, go to Cendrawasih Bay, Indonesia.


Cendrawasih Bay is a sure bet to see them. Other places like Galápagos, Cocos or Socorro you might see them, but not guarranty. I got lucky to see one in Cocos, however.

 

sunshower

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From the posts above it sounds like Isla Mujeres is the best probability for them. I saw many on a trip to Galapagos as well as a lot of other great stuff, would love to go back on day. I also saw one in South Africa but that may have been more good luck than anything else. Good luck with wherever you decide to go.
 

Scubagolf

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+1 Isla Mujeres. This was a fantastic whale shark experience. The island was a lot of fun. Sort of a Euro-Mexico vibe.
 

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pauldw

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Those photos are not remotely close to being what you should expect on an average trip off Isla Mujeres. You should expect dozens of boats over a handful of whale sharks, and a crowded, rapid experience, with some harassed whale sharks, and possibly some nice views of prop injuries to dorsal fins. If you get lucky and things are better, then good for you.

P.S.: Isla Mujeres isn't whale shark diving, it's whale shark snorkeling.
 

chillyinCanada

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The best places to swim with the whalesharks depend on whether you want to see them by snorkeling or diving. Here are my experiences in snorkeling & diving with whalesharks.

If you want to see them by snorkeling, Isla Mujeres, Mexico could be the best one with high chance to see them around August to September in clear blue water, not in greenish, cold & murky water of Holbox, Mexico. I also went to Utila, Honduras, but striked out with no whaleshark and got bitten badly by sandflies (noseeum), so no more Utila for me.

In Isla Mujeres during the summer time, the whalesharks gather there in hundreds to filter the snapper eggs. Check out how many they are in drone pictures below. They are as big as the boats (white specks).

View attachment 555300 View attachment 555301

Here is a video I took in July 4, 2017.


If you want to see them by diving, go to Cendrawasih Bay, Indonesia.


Cendrawasih Bay is a sure bet to see them. Other places like Galápagos, Cocos or Socorro you might see them, but not guarranty. I got lucky to see one in Cocos, however.


That snorkeler you videoed is quite the strong swimmer. Whale sharks are very hard to keep up with, even though they look so slow.
 
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