By our third attempt to see sharks in the Philippines, I was more than doubtful. What with our failure of a trip in Donsol and our cancellation of our diving in Malapascua, I was starting to wonder if our chance to see these big giant fish under water just wasn’t meant to be!
We set off from our hotel in Lagunde (near Oslob) at 8.20am after rushing through our breakfast. The food at our hotel took a long time to come which made us a bit late for our pre planned tricycle. To be fair though the pancakes were worth the wait
We decided to stay at Lagunde Beach Resort the night before, instead of arriving straight from Cebu by bus as we had a couple of days to play with.
After stopping on the way to run a few errands, we arrived at the Whale Shark watching spot around 9.15am.
Sign in, watch the orientation, pay 1000 PHP each etc. We knew the drill by now!
We stood anxiously on the beach waiting for a boat to call ’41’..
While we wait, one of the tour guides told us that it’s best to visit Oslob on a weekday as it’s much less busy. Unfortunately it just worked out that we was there on a Saturday.
I see her point. There were ques among ques of people, which meant more people and more boats in the water; creating underwater human traffic.
‘Number 41’ a man called.
With masks and snorkels fitted, we set off in a small row boat and stopped not far from shore.
I jumped in frantically and looking around, aware that we only had 30 minutes in the water.
Immediately I was faced with a giant bluey grey spotted body and an open mouth the size of a 15 inch TV.
I couldn’t believe it. I thought that I’d be scared but I wasn’t. This giant whale shark was approx. 6 metres long!
Underwater in their natural habitats these creatures look big, harmless and cuddly. Well almost. You definitely wouldn’t want to be slapped with the force of their tail, it would probably knock you out.
And the fact that they had no teeth stopped me from choking on my snorkel in fear.
We swam by them freely, struggling to keep up with them of course, taking a selfie or two.
Liam and I watched in awe as one of them hoovered up the water sucking in everything in the vicinity.
At one point Liam almost got sucked in himself!
By the time our 30 minutes was up we had seen 2 maybe 3 whales sharks. (It gets confusing as they leave and come back as sometimes your not sure if it’s the same or a different one ha.)
This experience was the highlight of the trip to the Philippines for me and it was everything that I thought it would be. I’m ecstatic that I finally got to experience this especially as I had almost lost all hope by then.
I can now say I have officially swam next to the biggest fish in the ocean!