Bucket List: Whale Shark Adventure
Location: Isla Mujeres, Cancun Mexico
Queer Rating: Friendly
Beach: Snorkel a small reef on Playa Norte Isla Mujeres and eat ceviche after
As a profound ocean enthusiast it has long been a dream of mine to swim with a shark in their natural habitat. Of course the whale shark is the most docile of all shark species, it is none the less exhilarating. Imagine you are in the water, mere feet from a fish that is at least the size of a school bus swimming along collecting the most microscopic of plankton and krill. Just WOW!
The day started out with the captain picking us up at the house on Isla Mujeres. We were heading to get on board the Aron to meet up with some other folks also joining us. Then it was 20km out into open ocean where the whale sharks were feeding on an abundance of plankton. This feeding happens yearly between May and September.
Please note: While this is a tourist activity much like heading to Akumal, there are plenty of rules and regulations to foll
ow and only a certain number of boats are licensed to operate tours during this period.
In the Water with a Whale Shark
Once you get out to the location of the whale sharks the captain and guide tell you to get ready. This means getting on your snorkel and fins ready to jump in the water. No time for fear or hesitation. If you are not ready forget about it, you missed that round. You literally jump in the water close to a whale shark. The guide takes you towards the big fish while the boat circles around to pick you up. In the boat the other tourists are rea
dying to jump in immediately after you are onboard.
It sounds hectic because it is. In the water this day were about 25 fish. Sometimes there are 50+ and others still there are also the big manta rays. These beautiful creatures also feed on the plankton and krill in abundance here during this time. There are also 20-40 tour boats all positioning to get their tourists into the water to experience this once in a lifetime adventure.
The captain and the guide will let you get in the water 3-5 times depending on the crowds before heading back. In case you are wondering there are rules. Rules you must follow.
When you have completed swimming with these gentle giants you will boat back to Playa Norte for some ceviche and a swim in a small reef there. Playa Norte is rated one of the top 10 beaches in the world. The reef boasts a few fish and is always packed with tourists feeding the fish. However, you have a boat, swim in the white sand bottomed water, drink cervesa and eat your ceviche before returning to dock.
At the end of the day I was completely exhausted and overwhelmed with how (expletive) cool the experience was. As the days after unwound I realized I was so effected by the
experience that I got myself a tattoo to commemorate it.
If you want a once in a life time experience that pits you in the open ocean with giant sharks then you need to be in Mexico in the summer of 2018.