Whale Sharks(21 Posts)
I'm hoping to get some advice on a trip I'm planning for a big DH Birthday in early 2016... A way off, but I need to start planning/saving.
He has a longstanding ambition to swim with whale sharks and is an advanced diver - so now I just need to decide on a destination.
His birthday is in Jan, and ideally I'd like to take him away after Christmas and be away for NYE - I know this will push up prices so need somewhere relatively affordable. We have two young DC, so need to be able to accommodate them too.
Places suggested so far include Belize,Philippines, and Mozambique.
Does anyone have any suggestions/itinerary ideas for whale shark spotting/swimming? We could be away for 2 weeks and would like to move around a few places in that time.
Whale sharks spotting is popular in the Maldives, but I can't remember what time of year is recommended. If you ask on the Trip Advisor Maldives forum, plenty of people will know. The Atoll Explorer, a little boat which chugs around the islands always used to include a whale shark expedition, someone will be able to tell you if it still does. You would visit a nice variety of resort islands, local (working) islands and uninhabited ones.
What about Mexico? Holbox Island up the coast from Cancun has whale shark trips.
Brome, Western Australia is good fro whale sharks,but I can't remember when.
It is also nica to visit nd not too hideously touristy.
Bloody cold water though, compared to the coral Sea. Brrr
I swam with whale sharks in Sodwana Bay in SA, part of a diving safari that incorporated a normal safari and diving in Sodwana (which is where Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean, close to the border of Mozambique and then Protea Banks down near Durban (colder water, swam with bull sharks there). It was fantastic.
I've dived with whale sharks in the Maldives. I can't remember the name of the atoll we were on but the resort was called Lux and the area near it is known for whale sharks. We were there in early December.
It was pretty special to have something that huge glide over the top of you on a dive. Btw if you are not a diver there are snorkelling trips too. We didn't spot a whale shark on the snorkelling trip (just missed one according to another boat crew) but saw dolphins and sea turtles so it was pretty cool anyway.
I love the Maldives.
This is making me really miss diving! The Maldives are just amazing, so beautiful. Spectacular diving, manta rays were my high point there. I went to Mexico hoping for hammerheads but the sea was too rough to get to the dive sites, had to play with seals instead . Always wanted to go to Thailand. The Red Sea shouldn't be discounted either (especially if there are budget constraints). If DH could do a liveaboard for a few days and leave you and DC's in hotel there is wonderful stuff - I saw tiger sharks
not that I was entirely happy about that at the time
The Lux resort to which Eurochick refers is in the South Ari Atoll and she is quite right about the area being good for whale sharks. It is generally considered to be the best for diving in general. There are around 15 resorts in the Atoll, each on its own little island, each with its own special features and at a range if prices. I can vouch for Vilamendhoo ( cheaper - cheap for Maldves that is ) Thudufushi ( a bit dearer but worth it) both have excellent diving and snorkelling as well as whale shark opportuniites. I am gettng very edgy just writing this, Maldives prices have gone up so we are taking DS and DGCs to Mexico instead this sumner, but however nice it turns out to be it cannot match the Maldives. Go for it!
I swam with Whale sharks in the maldives too - again in the south Ari atoll. We stayed at Lily Beach - a fabuous resort. We have been 5 times and it is heaven.
Mexico and Ningaloo Reef, Australia, are good for whale sharks.
We lived in the Philippines and swam with whale sharks many times. Best time of year is March-April though. Best place is a small village called donsol which is very basic and rural. You fly for one hour from Manila to Legaspi then an hour by road. I took my small children with us and school trips. It is more than safe to do it with children. You could only spend max 3 days in this village before needing to go elsewhere. Even the poshest hotel there is basic costing less than £10 night. Food is also limited as it is all brought in think chicken with rice, beef with rice, fish with rice -all delicious but after having it for lunch and dinner every day gets a bit much. We always swam with at least 4 'butanding' as they are known locally. Sometimes for up to 20 mins. It cost about £12 to hire a banker/boat for 2 hours. Usually 6 on a boat so share the cost. You could then spend the rest of your holiday on one of the many islands - you would have to fly. We loved living there and friends loved visiting just beware it is not Thailand in terms of infrastructure for tourists which may be frustrating.
Forgot to mention we only saw people snorkelling with whale sharks there never diving. You could then fly to any of the other islands and go diving.
Thanks for all of your responses... It looks like the Maldives/Mexico would be my best bet... Sadly DH has been to Mexico not once but three times already, and he's said before that the Maldives 'doesn't appeal' (errrr, okay!)
I'm really interested in the Philippines or an African destination so will look further into both of those suggestions.
We went to Tofo in Mozambique a couple of years ago pre DC. We saw mantas (when diving) and hoped to see whale sharks, as they are very common there, but none showed up sadly (mind you we only went on one trip to see them so you'd probably have more luck if you tried several times). certain times of year may be better than others. whale sharks are more readily seen from the surface rather than diving I believe.
I don't know if I'd go there with young DC though - it's a safe enough place but they'd need a lot of jabs I think and anti malarial drugs...
You used to be able to see whale sharks in Djibouti but I don't know whether it is still possible and how safe a destination it is. I remember reading about weimming with whale sharks and the advice seemed to be that snorkelling was better than diving. I don't remember why though [unhelpful].
I swam with them at the ningaloo reef, we saw 7 on our trip and it was amazing, it was a few years ago but I'm sure you're not really allowed to dive with them, only snorkel but that may just be in that area. We couldn't of got any closer though and they are beautiful, also manta rays and turtles.
That's the other thing I remember, they appear in different places at different times of year so that is something to research.
They regularly appear around Utila in Honduras - it's quite backpackery iirc though there are probably high end resorts to be found there. I saw a 10m one glide by us from a liveaboard around the Galapagos - simply spectacular!
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