Whale Shark Mania on Koh Tao

Whale Shark Mania on Koh Tao

Normally, there are only a few whale sharks around Koh Tao each year. But the number of sightings on the joint Facebook group is abnormally high this year.

There have been encounters with whale sharks at various locations for several weeks. A mother and young, or two at the same time, that also “talk” to each other and even one shark with a rope around his tail, which was removed by a brave diver. In short, we also wanted to see a whale shark. We took a day off and went on an excursion. It’s always a gamble, we did not count on actually seeing one, as the encounters are rare. In the 13 years I’ve been diving, I’ve seen just one.

At 6 o’clock we left on a fully loaded boat. We arrived on the dive site after about 2 hours. There is another boat present. We tie our boat to the boat line, and immediately a small group of divers jumps overboard.

When everything has come to a rest, we enter the water. We are not the only ones who have come to see if the stories about whale shark sightings are true. There are dozens of other divers. It’s a real whale shark Mania. But I cannot deny participating myself, otherwise I would not be here.

I enjoy the beautiful coral and the many fishes, until somebody pulls my fin. I look around and it appears to be Vera. She points upwardsenthusiastically . And yes, it wouldn’t have been the first time to happen, but I almost missed the whale shark that swam over me. It’s a small one. Men usually have some difficulty assessing sizes, but I try nonetheless: 3 to 4 meters. It is an amazing view seeing him / her swimming on a light background and accompanied by a lot of remorse / suction fish. You become quiet and before you know it, he / she has passed you. We continue with our dive.
As mentioned, there are quite a lot of divers. You may have seen a group of fish or birds that suddenly change flight or swimming direction. Well, the divers act like that too. Suddenly they all go to the right, a little less coordinated than the fish, but still. You start to suspect another whale shark. And indeed, he appears between all the bubbles and divers. Divers respond in different ways, some spear forward with their GoPro on their selfie stick, as if they want to pinch the shark. Others keep calm in their place and just look. I choose for the last, not wanting to interfere with this mighty beast. I wonder what the whale shark thinks about all the divers and their bubbles. He swims right towards Vera, she moves aside and the shark calmly passes. So there’s at least 2 whale sharks! And one of them was rescued from that rope on his tail recently. The scar is clearly visible. I’m happy knowing that he survived. A tribute to the responisble diver, removing that cannot have been easy.

Whale shark in between many divers

When we emerge, we see about a dozen boats have arrived. A couple of diving boats but also some speed boats. While we rest on ours, we suddenly hear a scream! One of the whale sharks has emerged and swims on the surface. The boat next to us almost rolls over, as everyone hurries to the side to get another glimps of this animal. It’s intereseting to see how the shark behaves. It’s going straight towards the divers and snorklers, which of course bolt away. Then it turns towards one of the boats, and in his curiosity almost hits the camera of a guy on the stern. What a sight.

Bottoms up!
Diving can be so beautiful.

We can enter the water for a second dip after an hours’ rest. And we meet him again! It’s a great dive: great clarity, beautiful coral, many beautiful schools of batfish, baracuddas, groupers and of course, at least 2 whale sharks! It could not have been better. Isn’t diving great?