Up Close and Personal with Whale Sharks
When I was in Australia I had an opportunity to swim with Whale sharks on the Ningaloo Reef. Swimming with sharks has been on my bucket list FOREVER…so I was very happy to finally check it off. The Ningaloo reef is located on the west side of Australia. You would take a 2 hour flight north from Perth to the town of Exmouth.
You can swim with whale sharks from April through July so my trip in June was perfect timing. From August to October it is Humpback whale season, which is another opportunity you won’t want to miss out on. For this trip I went with a company called Live Ningaloo. Only 10 people are allowed on the boat at a time to get in the water with the sharks. It’s a very intimate experience.
There is a photographer and a guide on the boat with the 10 of us. The photographer will get in the water first so they can get in the perfect position to capture these magical moments. The guide will follow and then all us sat down on the back of the boat in a line. One by one we all got in the water and lined up to watch the whale pass by. Once they pass you are more than welcome to swim with them IF you can keep up. They are crazy fast! I tried to swim with them but they are much faster than one would think. These sharks are magnificent creatures. I know they are very large animals but once in the water you realize they are much larger than I expected. However they very gentle and glide with ease through the water. We are instructed to stay behind their front fins and do not go in front of the whales when swimming with them.
Ever wonder how they spot these whales? Well they have spotter planes that are up in the sky looking for the whales. Think about that for a second.. a plane is needed to spot the whales and that they are that big that they can be spotted from a plane. Once they are spotted they radio down to the boats. The captains will then take off and try to get ahead of the whales so that everyone can get situated in the water for it to swim by. We saw 2 whales and were in the water about 10 times with them. It was just such a cool experience. When looking back, I sit here and think about how you are out in the middle of the ocean with these massive creatures with nothing else around. You looking down and all you can see is the deep blue.. don’t recommend looking down. Haha.
I have always wanted to do this in Australia and know I can say that I have. This is one of the top 5 spots to do this in the World to do the whale shark swim. I was very nervous but those nerves quickly disappeared once I got in the water with them. I can’t wait to do it again, it was such an amazing experience! I would love to tell you more and help you plan your adventure.