travelling mcscher

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Whalesharks in Oslob

My next stop was in Oslob on Cebu Island where the chance of seeing whalesharks is very high and basically guaranteed! I stayed at a hotel close by and got up at 5:30 in the morning to leave at 6:00 am just to be overwhelmed by the masses of tourists already waiting to board boats and see whalesharks…

I was warned, this event is not very eco friendly and rather commercial as the whalesharks are being fed and therefore visitors have a great chance of seeing them. Encountering a whaleshark while on a fun dive living and behaving naturally is close to zero 😉

It took about half an hour until I could board a paddling boat and jump into the water to see the first whaleshark in its glory. They are magnificent creatures! Of course it was’nt allowed to swim too close to them or even touch them but many tourists didn’t seem to care much. I tried avoiding to get too close but the shark thinking about the food went its way and at one point his front fin touched my leg. Yes, I was that close to a whaleshark! The idea is to not disturb them in their natural behaviour and I respect that but beeing fed isn’t really part of their natural behaviour and it was the shark that got too close to me. I couln’t avoid that.

I got some nice videos and photos from the event and after 30 minutes it was time to get out of the water so the next tourists could have their turn. By that time the water was very milky and smelly due to all the fishy-food the whalesharks were fed with. I was soo happy to take a shower afterwards and still had the smell in my nose…

I tried my best to avoid filming other tourists and taking photos of the sharks without hands and feet but that turned out to be quite a challenge. As you can see here, the water was quit busy…

At first, I was very skeptical if this event was a good thing to do or if it was a waste of money seeing all the tourists waiting in line. I saw no tourists coming to the shore with a smiling face so I thought this can only go one way… In the end though seeing those beautiful creatures so close was something else and I enjoyed it for the most part.

In the background you can see how all the tourists get lined up and smaller boats throw out the food to lure the whalesharks past the tourists. Yep… very eco friendly and very much how whalesharks live in their natural habitat 😉

Would I do this event a second time? Well, no. Would I recommend doing it if you have never seen a whale shark in your live before? Yes! There are not so many places in the world where you can see them and therefore it is a very good opportunity to do so. Of course it is everyones personal decision if the want to do this or not. I did and did not regret it.

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