Whale Sharks: a Closer Look
The whale shark (Rhinocodon typus) can measure up to 40 feet and up to 75,000 pounds, with some individuals being reported as becoming even bigger. This makes whale sharks the largest fish inhabiting the oceans on our planet. Despite its name and size, the whale shark is not a whale at all and is not carnivorous. It is a filter feeding fish, with algae and plankton being the main part of its diet.
Whale Shark Encounters
At first, this very large giant can be a bit scary, but the fact is that it is completely safe to approach and observe. The only risks for the diver come from the fact that this docile sea dweller can get scared and try to quickly swim away. If this happens, there is a small chance that a person can get hurt, so when swimming with whale sharks, the most important thing is to try not to scare them.
There are regular whale shark tours organized by Duende Tours during the summer, and a large number of them start from Cancun, Mexico. All Whale Shark Tours are organized by licensed companies with boats that depart from the small islands just off the coast, especially Isla Mujeres and Hol Box.
Whale Shark Tour
To preserve the eco-system of the whale shark and to ensure that the tours are safe for both tourists and whale sharks, some very strict rules apply when organizing and participating in whale shark tours. Here is what you should expect from your whale shark tour if you choose to join one:
The tours start early. Be prepared to leave around seven o’clock in the morning and to return in the early afternoon. Most tours are a half-day long, which some special tours lasting a bit longer. The boat crew that will take you to the sharks’ location will provide you with all equipment, as well as some soft drinks and lunch.
Not everyone from the boat swims with the sharks at the same time. This is a preventative measure, because the whale sharks can be easily scared if too many people are around them. Most boats take up to 10 tourists on the tour, and once the boat reaches the destination, the tourists take turns to get into the water and swim and snorkel alongside the whale sharks.
Once into the water, you can approach the whale shark, take pictures and observe it, but you are not allowed to touch it or try to feed it, as it can be dangerous for you if the giant fish gets alarmed.
The sun in this part of the world can be very strong, so you are advised to use sun lotion. If you are planning to go on a whale shark tour in Cancun, be aware that only eco-friendly lotions are allowed to be used by tourists. This is very carefully checked, as polluting the ocean while swimming with these majestic animals can be harmful for their health.
Whale shark tours in Cancun, Mexico are some of the most popular tours during the summer months, as tourists enjoy being able to get close to these sea giants and to be one with the nature.
See our whale shark tour for more information.
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