As magical as the full moon was last Thursday, the downside to it was that full-moon season is the least favorable time for whaleshark spotting. According to my childhood friend, Julie, who lives in Cebu, krill (which is what whalesharks eat) are hard to come by during the full moon which is why whalesharks are scarce during this season.
But Ito and I decided to take our chances on spotting a whaleshark. We had already gone swimming with whalesharks in the wild in Donsol, Sorsogon a few years back and the experience had been unforgettable. This time we were hoping to swim with them again and catch a glimpse of the connection they had with the fishermen of Oslob.
We woke up at 5:30am and took a boat from Sumilon Island at 6am, reaching Oslob by 6:20 am. After a short briefing (don’t swim near the whaleshark’s mouth, don’t swim near the whaleshark’s tail, don’t touch the whalesharks) we were taken to the beach where we hoped and prayed a whaleshark would show up. We hadn’t been there 15 minutes when the fishermen quickly called for us to board a teeny, tiny boat, and one of them paddled us out to sea. A whaleshark had come to feed, and this one they had nicknamed “Fermin”.
While whalesharks come in from the wild, “Fermin” seemed very friendly and docile. He followed the fisherman’s boat around as he was being fed, and he swam so close to us that we nearly bumped into him several times…
…what an amazing experience!!!
The water was so clear, you could see the various schools of fish that followed the whaleshark around…
“Fermin” played and stayed around for about 20-30 minutes…
…and allowed us to get up close and personal.
I loved the alternating stripes and dotted patterns on his back! Mixing patterns is very spring/summer 2012 so “Fermin” is right on trend! LOL 😉
Fashion tip for snorkeling with whalesharks: Surf style is best! Wear a wet suit or a sporty rash guard and board shorts over your swimsuit because the plankton and krill that whalesharks eat can cause the water around them to make your skin itch (my rash guard is more than a few years old and has served me well through many water adventures. Looking to buy a couple more this summer). I also love the water-proof case for the Iphone that Ito got me in R.O.X. because I could still text, tweet and take pics without worrying about my phone getting soaked 🙂 Travel adventures are infinitely more fun in the Philippines 😉