Snorkelling with Whale Sharks. A really humbling experience!
They are rare visitors but we have around a dozen days over the year when Whale Sharks come and visit us close to our sandy beaches.
Have you ever had a dive with Whale Sharks?
Those gentle giants are moving relaxed through the water, often just at the right speed giving divers and snorkellers on our ocean safaris the amazing opportunity to swim with a Whale Shark having a nice workout at the same time.
Whale shark is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known fish in our oceans. The species originated approximately 60 million years ago.
Whale shark is found in tropical waters which make Mozambique and the coast from Guinjata dive center up to Tofo so popular with the whale shark population but mostly lives in the open sea with a lifespan of about 70 years. Although whale sharks have very large mouths, as filter feeders they feed mainly, though not exclusively, on plankton, which are microscopic plants and animals, which is mostly found in our region.
Whale sharks are capable of diving to depths of at least 1,286 meters and are migratory.
As a filter feeder it has a capacious mouth which can be up to 1.5 meters wide and contains 10 filter pads and between 300 and 350 rows of tiny teeth. It has five large pairs of gills. Two small eyes are located towards the front of the shark’s wide, flat head. The body is mostly grey with a white belly; three prominent ridges run along each side of the animal and the skin is marked with a checkerboard of pale yellow spots and stripes. (Have a look at the video clip)
These spots are unique to each individual and are useful for counting populations. “There is also a myth about the whale shark and the angels, the angels were so happy about the creation of this big animal and they were very proud to have been part of this magnificent fish, so they threw coins and sand dollars from haven onto the whales sharks back.
So when the whale sharks swim close to the surface, it’s his way of thanking the angels for his beautiful skin.” Its skin can be up to 10 centimeters thick. The shark has a pair each of dorsal fins and pectoral fins.
The whale shark is the largest non cetacean animal in the world. The average size of adult whale sharks is estimated at 9.7 meters and 9 tones
Likely they wonder about those strange clumsy creatures struggling to accompany them from time to time…