Whale shark season is here!
What a fantastic Whale shark season so far! The friendly giants have been seen around Koh Haa, Bida islands and Hin Daeng/Hin Muang since late December. Last couple of weeks we’ve seen them on almost every dive! Some divers do several hundreds of dives before they encounter a Whale shark but we have had some really happy customers who spotted Whale sharks on their very first dive ever! Also snorkelers had the opportunity to swim with these beautiful creatures!
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the sea and they have an enormous menu from which to choose and their favorite meal is plankton. They scoop these tiny plants and animals up, along with any small fish that happen to be around, with their colossal gaping mouths while swimming close to the water’s surface. Their white spotted colouration makes these gentle giants easy to distinguish, like human fingerprints, whale sharks have a unique pattern of spots which allow individual sharks to be identified.
Preferring warm waters, whale sharks populate all tropical seas. We spot Whale sharks mostly around Koh Haa but also at the Bida islands and Hin Daeng / Hin Muang. The Whale shark season seems to vary but we do see them throughout the whole season, but most likely November until March. Whale sharks can weigh up to 11 ton and be as long as 20 meters. The Whale sharks we see on our dive trips are usually about 3-7 meters. They are currently listed as a vulnerable species; however, they continue to be hunted in parts of Asia, such as the Philippines. Demand for their meat, fins and oil remains a threat to the species, particularly by unregulated fisheries. They are victims of bycatch, the accidental capture of non-target species in fishing gear. And whale shark tourism presents a threat to the species as it can interrupt their feeding and sharks can be injured by boat propellers.
Swimming with Whale sharks must be done responsible. Never touch them, keep your distance and never jump into the water without a guide. Please only use reef friendly sunscreen. This of course applies whenever you swim in the ocean. At Lanta Diver we sell Reef repair, a sunscreen that is kind to the reef and the marine life.
If you want to help protecting these amazing animals you can Adopt a Whale shark through WWF!
Happy Bubbles everyone!