Swimming With Whale Sharks | Oslob | Philippines
It was 6 am. After a tiring journey and less than 4 hours of sleep, we were up and ready! No amount of tiredness would matter as this was the day when we’d get to SWIM with whale sharks.
The Whale Shark
Would they be aggressive like a shark or docile like the whale? Would they be enormous? Would I drown? What if I dropped my Go-pro into the sea? So many questions kept popping up in my head. But did all this apprehension outweigh the excitement? NOT!
What are whale sharks?
The whale shark is one of the world’s gentlest giants. They are slow swimming filter-feeders, usually in a shade of grey and currently the largest among fish species in the world. Fully grown whale sharks can reach incredible lengths of up to 40 feet. Imagine, it’ll be seven times the size an average human! The very thought of swimming with these giants gave such chills.
We arrived in Oslob which is about 120 km from Cebu (4-5 hours by bus) at about 2 am after a comfortable bus ride. We stayed in a small cosy resort called ‘Germaroze’, which is a 15-minute bike ride away from the whale watching location.
Swimming with whale sharks is a top-rated attraction in Oslob. Offbeat tourists come to see the local fishermen feeding these whale sharks every morning between 6 am and 12 pm in the relatively shallow parts of the Bohol Sea. This experience is quite well organised and systematic. There are four steps to do whale swimming.
You Pay. To Snorkel: PHP 1,000 (Rs 1,300), to view from the Boat: 500 PHP and to Scuba dive 1,500 PHP.
You go through a quick orientation where they give you instructions on the average distance that you need to keep from the whale-shark, how you must not use sunscreen lotions and how not to be scared if they come too close to you.
Verification and distribution of snorkelling gear and life jacket
Getting onto the boat (the ah-finally-moment! )
After about 30 mins of waiting, we were on our boats and set sail for the dive location.
“Slide slowly into the water. You don’t want to scare them! “The Boatman said.
With snorkelling gear & life jackets on, we got into the water. There were moments of complete silence as we waited for them in the deep blue waters. A few minutes later, these gentle giants emerged so gracefully! Their sheer size makes you feel so insignificant in this world. While we were tried hard to digest the reality as it unfolded, one of the whale sharks swam just beneath our feet. We froze. Was it the fear or awe of these fantastic animals!? We began feeling a lot less intimidated as time passed. It felt blissful to see them move around and sometimes come very close to you.
There’s something magical about how these whale sharks moved. They were calm, and their long tails moved elegantly under water. Within 10 minutes, there were 3 of them around the boat in the close distance. Few people around us took off their life jackets to swim closer to the whale sharks.
How Beautiful Are These?
After 30 unforgettable minutes with these gentle giants, we half-heartedly climbed back on to our boat not wanting to return. Watching the whale shark have its meal on a Saturday morning truly is an unforgettable experience. 🙂
Watch Our Whale Shark Experience Here