Swimming with whale sharks Cancun Mexico
Swimming with whale sharks was always high on my bucket list. But for some reason I never planned my trips well enough.
Each time I was in Mexico, the whale sharks were somewhere far down around the Southern hemisphere, and when I was in Argentina, they were North.
The same thing with the Philippines.
I just never visited the area where you can swim with whale sharks during the whale sharks season.
So I kept missing on this amazing experience.
Until I finally visited Mexico for my 3rd time in September 2014 for TBEX Cancun experience.
It was the last week or so of the season which meant I just could not miss my chance.
When I was staying together with some blogger friends at an apartment, one day we were invited to swim with whale sharks.
Oh My Gooood!
I was so excited.
I mean, it was almost 100% guaranteed we would see some whale sharks!
Whale sharks, the largest known fish species! Can you imagine that?
We were picked up by our guide, a Russian girl Alexandra. After the initial mess with the registering for the tour, Alexandra explained us what was awaiting us.
I was already nervous enough and I refused to wear a wetsuit (I dislike them as it is very uncomfortable and I was sure i was not going to be cold in that tropical sea around Cancun.) If the whale sharks only live in warm-temperature sea and they were still there, I could survive the temperature, too, right?
Anyway, we arrived to the marina in Cancun, could get some fruit and drinks, and change into swimsuit and wetsuit. Then we hopped on a boat headed to the place where the whale sharks come, somewhere around my favorite islands of Isla Mujeres and Contoy.
I could not get enough of the sun beams on the boat so I closed my eyes to meditate.
All was fine until we got to the whale sharks spot. It was maybe around 8 – 10 of them there and already many boats with tourists snorkeling.
Me and Kathryn were picked up to be the first couple to go to snorkel with the whale sharks.
OMG, OMG, OMG!
”Put the masks on, and swim on the side of the whale shark as fast as you can, otherwise it’s gone. Each couple will be in the water for 2 or 3 minutes, then you swam to relax. And we will all do 3 rounds. Remember, swim, swim, swim!” shouted Alexandra.
At first, as she was a bit nervous in the morning, we all thought she was just exaggerating.
Yeah, whatever, it cannot be that difficult.
So we jumped in the water.
If some of you remember my bad snorkeling experience in Giftun island in Egypt back in 2007, when I got stuck in a coral reef … then you know sometimes I still get uncomfortable when snorkeling.
And today was exactly that time.
All I could see where hundreds of air bubbles around me, a big mess, nervous people and the whale shark tail already disappearing further and further away from me …
Oh no, that cannot be it, you can’t be serious!
I was really exhausted already after just 3 minutes in the water trying to take a video of at least something 😀 Alexandra was right …
The next round in the water was different though. I relaxed myself as much as I could repeating the positive affirmation ”I can do it. I’m having fun swimming with whale sharks.”
The next time I jumped into the water, I could not believe my eyes.
The enormous mouth of the whale shark was just in front of me.
”Stay calm, it feeds on plankton. I am not plankton.” I repeated myself and started swimming on its right side.
Kathryn was just next to me and the whale shark swam so close to us, it touched us. It was a weird feeling to know in that huge sea I don’t really have where to hide myself as I was in between the boat and the whale shark.
Anyway, I could only trust the whale shark and the Universe.
The 3 minutes in the water seemed never-ending but passed so quickly at the same time.
There were too many things to concentrate on …
Swim fast with just 1 arm as I was holding the waterproof camera in the other one.
Take photos and videos and switch between the modes.
Where is my camera? Am I pointing it to the whale shark or again recording just the sea?
Breathe, don’t get nervous of snorkeling. This approx. 20-ton fish does not want to hurt you!
OMG, the whale shark can be up to 5 times longer than me. OMG, OMG!
All my hundreds of thoughts were even interrupted by Alexandra screams ”swim faster, swim faster, and look and smile to my camera!”
Each time I tried to smile, there was or someone else in the way, or we were losing the whale shark. So I decided to at least keep taking videos with my camera and enjoying the fuss.
The 3rd round in the water was more fun for me. Again, I jumped in right a meter in front of the whale shark mouth and then we swam together for some time as a cute couple.
As we were the first couple to go in the sea from our group and saw nothing at that time, we were allowed to go for the 4th time too. Yay! There were finally no negative feelings and thoughts on my mind and I honestly enjoyed it.
I could feel the peace and quiet the whale shark was sending out. I even saw a little whale shark underneath its belly.
We were all so tired, Alexandra was right.
Unfortunately, our whale shark Cancun Mexico experience was over.
I will never forget those few minutes in the sea. Adventure + peace + life = unforgettable!
The boat took us to Isla Mujeres to Playa Norte (North beach), one of the nicest beaches I’ve ever been at. We had little lunch there on the boat – being a vegan I got a small salad.
Until the very last minute we had to leave, I stayed in the crystal clear water. This is paradise!
Check out the video from swimming with whale sharks Cancun Mexico:
*some photos and video credit: thanks to EcoColors Tours
Another video done by my friend Robin who swam with the whale sharks with us 🙂
My swimming with whale sharks Cancun Mexico trip was booked via Viator when we were renting Playa del Carmen HouseTrip apartment. It was part of my Adventure and Spa project.
Landon @ Uneven Sidewalks
What a cool tour to be so close to such huge creatures. It’s hard to put enough trust in the tour guide to believe you won’t get chomped! I was on a tour diving with stingrays in Grand Cayman and I thought for sure they were going to attack me too! Great photos!
Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler
Haha right, you never know with the animals. You cannot read their mind so respect is very necessary 🙂
Wow! What an amazing experience! I probably would have felt too scared but great that you gave this a go and enjoyed it! The sea looks so beautiful!
Crazy Sexy Fun Traveler
It’s important to go out of your comfort zone, I was scared for a bit too 😉
Paige Conner Totaro
Now you really make me wish I had gone with you! I was honestly way too scared to do it.
Crazy sexy fun traveler
Comment@ Dylann Andre:
Thanks so much 🙂 I admit, swimming with whale sharks can seem a bit scary and not everyone would do it. In the end, I honestly loved it 🙂
I love beach and to swim. But to swim with whale sharks is not my thing. You are so brave to do this. I had fun reading and see these photos. Thanks for sharing this article. Great post!