Whale sharks are fish! Adults, they generally measure 4-14 meters long (but can reach 20 meters long exceptionally), can weigh up to 35 tons and live up to 150 years! They feed mainly on plankton and small fish they eat by mouth. They are very impressive by their size but are completely harmless to humans. So you have no chance of being eaten it raw!
Also know that a whale shark moves relatively slowly (5km / h). You will have ample time to dismiss you if you approach too close to.
Where to swim with whale sharks in the Philippines?
There are several spots to swim with whale sharks in the Philippines including “Donsol” and “Oslob.” These two sites are not managed in the same way and they do not provide exactly the same type of experience.
A Donsol site is managed by the WWF and the Whale sharks are not attracted with food (unlike Osbol). Donsol The site is more “green” but is not guaranteed to spot whale sharks because there is not daily. Moreover, visibility is significantly worse than Oslob.
A Oslob: there are no real rules. Whale sharks are fed daily, you are guaranteed to perceive (even if these large fish are no longer completely wild …). Moreover, Oslob, whale sharks are just ten meters from the coast and the water is transparent. These beautiful animals are perfectly visible (to learn more about Oslob, here is the official website “Oslob Whale Shark” – in English).
I do not deny that the site of Oslob is highly controversial for years. No one has the necessary perspective to affirm that this “gavage” of whale sharks is not detrimental to their way of life … In any case, I prefer to know these animals in the wild (even feeds) that parked in amusement parks as is often the orcas and dolphins … a topic that is also pretty noisy for some time as evidenced by this article: “Parks accused of treating the orcas as slaves.”
Getting to Oslob to see whale sharks?
For my part, I went to Oslob by boat from Alona Beach in Panglao Island. This beach is relatively known in the Philippines, including its many spots plunged around. The influx of tourists has helped develop many activities and premises have understood that foreigners were fond of thrills and wanted Voires whale sharks. So they organize boat trips to get up Oslob from Alona Beach.
The journey of Alona Beach in Oslob is proposed at 1,500 pesos each way / return. However, rates are highly marketable since I have been able to reduce the price to 600 pesos! (But I got this award in low tourist season, during the rainy season). Also know that the path of Alona Beach in Oslob occurs in Bangka (traditional boat of the Philippines) and lasts 2h30. It is rather long and very noisy, so remember to bring earplugs if you are sensitive to that level.
Once in Oslob, be asked to pay 1000 pesos (15 €) for 40 minutes to swim with whale sharks. Masks and snorkels are included in the price and you will be taken to whales sharks using a small boat.
Remember that it is also possible to observe whale sharks from the boat (500 pesos) but I do not really see the point … We hardly see anything from the surface, everything is under water! Snorkeling at this location is also unnecessary, it is expensive and whale sharks are much more visible snorkeling.
You will be given the key safety information in a tiny 5 minutes briefing on arrival and we ask you to take a shower before you get into the water if you have sunscreen on you (for c is toxic to whale sharks):
Do not touch the whale sharks
Do not get close to less than 4 meters
Do not be more than 6 people around a whale shark
Do not use the flash on his camera
But the safety instructions are not really respected. It is very difficult to stay more than 4 meters of whale sharks … By having his head above water, I even stepped on one of them unintentionally, it is to say!
You will be very porch whale sharks (less than a meter sometimes). But it is not really scary is even more impressive to have the chance to even so close!
Needless to say more, the photos speak for themselves … If you go to the Philippines, try to make time to go to Oslob to swim with whale sharks, it’s just amazing!
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