The Behemoths of the Deep
When we talk about the mysterious creatures of the deep ocean, whale sharks surely dominate the topic. These exceptional and solitude-loving giants typically reach 40 feet in length and can weigh up to 20 tons. You know, pretty much the size and length of your usual school bus…no big deal. Despite their five foot jaws and hundreds of sharp tiny teeth, these gentle creatures eat only small fish and plankton.
Mystery Is Their Middle Name
Beyond their anatomy and feeding habits, we still know little about these creatures of the deep. They appear seasonally in places like the Philippines, Mexico, Belize, and Australia, which makes it really difficult to predict where and when they will show up.
The Perfect Diving Spot
Although most diving spots to meet whale sharks are often cramped with tourists, there is one place that is still relatively secluded, and you can freely swim among these primordial giants. That’s in Indonesia’s Cenderawasih Bay. Located about 2,000 miles east of Jakarta and along the northern coast of West Papua, this protected area is Indonesia’s largest marine national park. Despite covering around 5,400 square miles, there are very few villages in the region.
Whale Sharks Bring Luck
The fishermen there have put out traditional floating platforms, bagans, that whale sharks have grown to recognize. In an area near the village of Kwatisore, where you will find one of the hotspots for diving with shale sharks, fishermen believe these sharks bring them luck since they keep other predators away from the bagans.
When planning your trip there, expect a series of short flights within Indonesia, and don’t forget to be respectful of this protected area.