There is this channel in the South Ari Atoll where whale sharks are often seen. I heard that this is the only place in the world where these babies are seen all year round. These whale sharks are still young, although big. And theory is that they feed in the deep waters just outside the atoll. Then after a nice meal, they come to warm up and seek the shallow waters just outside Maamigili on the south Ari Atoll.
Well who does not want to meet one of these gentle giants. Even though these are sharks, they feed on plankton and are of no danger to us. And as you swim, snorkel or dive with them, you will see they are very curious and seem to like meeting us.
On every trip we try to find these biggest smiles in the world. And mid april we were out on Maamigili patrolling. Luckily we found this honey just before we were to jump for a dive. The Dhoni dropped us just in front of him and then its just a matter of swimming your bum of to stay close. After all from just behind the eyes to the tail its just one big muscle. So even when they are slowly cruising, for us its finning like crazy.
On this particular dive me and Debby Schwaner (again many thanks for the great pics XX) were the last to keep pace with this lovely giant. He was 7-8 meters long and as I learned later this is Pedro. We managed to stay with him for about 12-15 minutes and it was stunning. We swimming like crazy, he checking us out. What an amazing dive.
If you want to identify a whale shark, you use the spot patern. You need a picture of the left hand side (right hand sometimes also works). A shot from the gills untill the end of the finn right next to the gills. Then you go to maldiveswhalesharkresearch.org and upload the picture. They will give you a number of likely individuals and you have to do the rest. So having multiple pics is smart 😉
In our case this is Pedro en we loved diving with him
Hugs and Bubbles from the Maldives, Anke