Have you ever ticked off a bucket list item without realising it was there in the first place?
Back in 2014, Andy and I took an impromptu trip to Coral Bay in Western Australia after our original destination was on fire. Literally. We counted our lucky stars when we rerouted and found ourselves surrounded by glorious clear blue water and tropical fish. But one (giant) fish we would not see was the Whale Shark. We’d missed the season by a few weeks, so vowed we would return one day.
That day came in May this year. Much like the first time, we flew to Exmouth, picked up a car and drove to the tiny town of Coral Bay, passing giant termite mounds along the way.
The following day we did our Whale Shark safari, which included some snorkelling stops as well. We booked with Coral Bay Eco Tours, who were fantastic. It’s a pricey day ($410 each) but well worth it, they actually send up a plane to scout the Whale Shark locations.
Our first snorkel spot of the day. I will never tire of swimming with turtles ❤
Our first Whale Shark was content to lazily circle for an hour while we jumped in and swam alongside all 6 metres of him.
There was a strategy wherein the boat would drop you in front of the Whale Shark so you could watch it go past and then swim madly to keep up. It was incredible how they hardly seemed to move but cut through the water so quickly.
It’s really hard to get a sense of the scale of them. If you look at the people behind the Whale Shark in the photo below you can kind of tell how huge they are:
We split into groups so we could constantly rotate between swimming and hauling ourselves up onto the boat to move ahead of the Whale Shark to drop in again. It was amazing and tiring. The most thrilling part was when the shark would suddenly decide to turn and would swim directly at you until you scampered out of the way.
Our 2014 trip was the first time I ever used a GoPro and I’m happy to say my underwater photography skills have improved since then! Andy bought this great dome mount that makes it easier to take these over/underwater shots:
We toasted to the day.
And watched the sunset back on dry land.
100% would recommend swimming with Whale Sharks.