Posted by Admiral
Mar 31 2010

This . . .


is a whaleshark.  We went on a trip on a local boat today to see whalesharks, and we saw at least five, probably more.  After a while, we weren’t sure if we were seeing the same one repeatedly.

Whalesharks are about 15-20 feet long.  They are the largest fish species in the ocean (i.e. they are not mammals, they are big sharks).  They eat plankton, like a balleen whale, thus the name, I suppose.

They are large, swim as fast as they want to – not generally very fast – and are tolerant of inter-species swimming.  They have very powerful tails.  When they get tired of your shenanigans, they just move a little fast or deeper.  Before you know it, they are gone.

DSCN1895 Big tail.

They like this part of the Sea of Cortez for its warmth and food supply.  Their bodies are spotted.  Our trip companions, Cynthia and Butch, got much better pictures than we did:




The spots are beautiful and more colorful than they appear in these pictures.  You might try to find other pictures on the internet.

All of us had a chance to get up close and personal with one of these animals today.  Larry touched one by mistake (you’re not supposed to touch them.)  I swam beside one for a ways before my mask started to fill up with water (I hadn’t put it on securely before I jumped in.)

We would not have seen any of these magnificent animals without the help of our terrific driver, Juan:

DSCN1911 The lady standing behind him is the business side of the business (so to speak).  She was there to organize us (quite a feat in itself!), send us off, and greet us on our return.  I think her name is Tessa.

We are pretty sure that this final best picture – person and shark — is of Cynthia, the participant in our group who got us together:

DSCN1910 All in all, a very successful and exciting day!

Tomorrow, we are going to Caleta Partida, or bust!  It is an anchorage between Isla Ispiritu Santo and Isla Partida.  We’ll post a report over the weekend.

***Edit by Gilligan:****

Muggs asked me to insert this neat video they took of the whalesharks, so here it is:

We also have a  YouTube video prepared by someone who went on the whaleshark trip with them:

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