1. With Whale Sharks, Ningaloo Reef, Australia
Swimming with the biggest fish in the sea, how can anything top that? Well I do intend on swimming with whales one day, but can't count that yet.
There are many places to swim with whale sharks and certainly much cheaper places than Australia, but Ningaloo reef near Exmouth (WA) is the
only place where they congregate in such numbers (in season) and where you can be guaranteed to swim with them because tour companies send up
spotter planes to find them.
The whole day was brilliant, firstly unlike the Great Barrier Reef you don't have to spend 3 hours on a boat to get to the reef, it is literally
just off the shore. By 10am we had already swam with 2 juvenile, yet still 3m long whale sharks. The youngsters were much more curious and
more beautiful than the adults. One was so curious it turn towards me with it massive mouth wide open, luckily I was pulled away by one
of the tour staff before it swallowed me.
Suddenly the whale sharks seemed to disappear, we were told by the spotter plane the reason was because a large pod of killer whales were in the
area. This was completely unexpected, the crew said they see orca about once a year. As everyone was so excited by this we spent about hour
having a private orca watching tour, which was an unbelievable bonus to the day.
After lunch the orca pod had gone and whale sharks were being sighted again. We had a lot of cases of jumping in the water and the whale sharks
diving down deep - probably because they were still spooked by the orca. It had become a bit frustrating jumping in and only catching a glimpse,
until the final swim of the day.
I jumped in and directly underneath me was this huge shadow, which then swam up to the surface right in front of me - a massive 8m whale shark,
about the size of a single deck bus.
I swam as fast I could to get alongside this magnicent creature - I was one of a few people to catch up with it as it moved effortlessly through
the water. I saw it move its eye towards me and we shared a moment for about 10 seconds - mutual respect, we both knew neither wanted to harm
one another - we than swam together side by side for at least two minutes before I was called back - an experience I will never, ever
The day was capped off with champagne as we returned to shore - one of the best days of my life.
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