My #1 bucket list item, swimming with Whale Sharks. I’ve always been fascinated by their massive size but extremely docile nature. Seth and I planned a pre-deployment vacation earlier this year, and it was between Playa del Carmen, Mexico or Bora Bora, to do, for the most part, nothing. We chose Playa del Carmen, because each June/July Whale Sharks show up to filter feed on the rich plankton filled waters near Isla Mujeres.
We pre-booked our tour online, received confirmation and were set! It was our first tour in Mexico, so we arranged it early in our trip. We were picked up at our resort, picked up a few others along the way, and headed to Cancun Harbor. There was a group of 10 of us, 2 guides, and a captain. We proceeded far off the coast, for a little over an hour, and then all of sudden the boat came to a sudden slow, and we’d stumbled upon our first Whale Shark. Everybody got ready, in groups of two, and waited to drop off the edge of the boat into the water, to swim along with the shark and our guide. We swam with this first solo whale shark and then set off to find more!
I cannot even put the experience into words. Not once, despite their massive size, did I ever feel threatened or concerned, I was just in total awe of them. Jump overboard, get your bearings, look around and then out of nowhere, here comes a 35ft, 20 ton whale shark swimming right toward you, minding its own business. When it reaches you; just keep swimming! Truly an amazing experience!!
When we finished swimming with the whale sharks, we headed to Isla Mujeres, a small island off Cancun, for some snorkeling and lunch. After snorkeling we anchored in 3ft deep water that was as clear as anything I’ve seen. They served us fresh guacamole, fresh ceviche (from fish caught that morning!) and cervezas. It was truly one of the more memorable days of my life.