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Marine Life

Whale Sharks

When it comes to size, whale sharks are the biggest fish in our seas. There are reports of some whale sharks being up to 18m (60ft) in length but the largest verified size is 12.65m (41.5ft) with a weight of 36 tonnes. They are thought to live up to 70 years in the wild and can be found circumglobally in coastal warm temperate and tropical seas at depths of between 0m and 700m. Commonly found in the Western Atlantic, Indian Ocean, the Western and Eastern Pacific. Despite what the name would suggest, the whale shark is actually a fish, and the largest in the world.

Where to see Whale Sharks

The whale shark is one of nature's most incredible creatures. By far the largest fish in the sea, it can grow to in excess of 40 feet, weigh over 30 tonnes and live to 70 years of age. This gentle giant is a filter feeder whose favourite meal is plankton. In order to feed, it juts out its formidable jaws and sucks in everything in the vicinity. It then shuts its mouth, forcing water to filter out of its gills. Everything that remains becomes the giant shark's dinner.

With a preference for warm waters, whale sharks populate every tropical sea but are notoriously difficult to spot unless you choose your spot very carefully. Among other destinations, they are known to migrate every spring to the continental shelf of the central west coast of Australia. The coral spawning of the area's Ningaloo Reef provides the whale shark with an abundant supply of plankton.

Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose significant danger to humans. Although massive, whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to hitch a ride (though of course we wouldn't encourage touching them!) They are actually quite gentle and can play with divers. Divers and snorkelers can swim with whale sharks without risk, apart from unintentional blows from the shark's large tail fin!

Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Reef, off the coast of Western Australia, is one of the few places on earth that at the right time of year you are guaranteed encounters with Whale Sharks.

Picture of boat on the beach Bazaruto Archipelago

Southern Mozambique & Bazaruto Archipelago

The most striking feature of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Southern Mozambique is its remote untouched beauty.

Picture of Boats in the sea Mafia Island

Mafia Island

Little known Mafia is one of the only places you are virtually guaranteed whale sharks at the right time of year.

Picture of Hammerhead school Galapagos

Galapagos Archipelago

Galapagos liveaboard diving, simply the best way to dive the Galapagos Islands.

Picture of aerial view of Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat just happens to sit right on the bullseye of the Coral Triangle, which is the area of highest marine biodiversity on earth. With more species of fish and coral than anywhere else on our planet, the diving here is jaw-dropping.

Picture of a surfer on palm tree

Maldives

The Maldives is a world-class diving destination, particularly if you like diving with big fish. Above the waves you find pure white sand, blue seas and world-class hotels. What's not to like?

Picture of Similan island

Western Thailand

Off the western coast of Thailand, a group of islands called the Similans are home to the very best diving that can be found in Thailand. Here you can find whale sharks, mantas and other large pelagics.

Picture of diving Tubbataha reef

Tubbataha Reef

The jewel in the crown of Philippines diving.

Rugged Landscape, Djibouti

Djibouti

Small but perfectly formed, Djibouti is a fascinating and beautiful country with wonderful desert scenery and virtually guaranteed whale sharks at the right time of year.

Palm Trees Belize beach

The Belizean Coast

One of the only places in the world where you are guaranteed whale shark encounters at the right time of year.

Picture of Chichen Itza Mexico

Yucatan Peninsula

Superbly varied diving and superb hotels make the Yucatan Peninsula a wonderful place to visit.

Picture of Aerial view Zighy bay Oman

Musandam Peninsula

Dramatic underwater landscapes and abundant marine life make the Musandam a must for divers looking for something different.

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The Azores

The Azores offer world-class diving; we think the best in Europe. It also offers some amazing activities around its volcanic scenery.

Many thanks to you Dominique for planning this and joining me on that very special tour. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and especially you.

Carol, Travel Agent - FAM Trip, 2017

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