We can now check swimming with whale sharks off of our life to-do list!
“Wanna go for a boat ride to go swim with fish?” – Sure!
“Wanna go for a 20 mile boat ride over rough seas to swim with fish?” – I guess.
“Wanna go for a 20 mile boat ride over rough seas to swim with 50 foot whale sharks?” – Um, ok?
And that was the conversation we had before making reservations with Aqua Adventure Eco Tours to book our whale shark adventure in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. (We were in Isla Mujeres, Mexico to meet up with lots of incredible friends and it just happened to be the perfect weekend for whale sharking!)
We were instructed to meet at the dive shop at 7:45….so that morning we woke up early and grabbed breakfast at Ballyhoo.
Breakfast with a view.
Full of chorizo, tortillas and the excitement of swimming with whale sharks we walked to the dive shop.
When we arrived we were told, “The port is closed. No whale sharking today or tomorrow.”
What?!? What a bummer….especially because we woke up super-early, but we were also disappointed that we wouldn’t be whale sharking that day.
We were determined to swim with these guys and decided to stay on Isla Mujeres until the water calmed and the ports re-opened. Luckily, we only had to wait one more day (yes, we know, it was rough having to stay there an extra day!).
Whale shark part deux…..we woke up early, ate breakfast at Ballyhoo again and then made our way to the dive shop hoping that we would get the news that the ports were open. When we arrived at the dive shop we got the news, “The port is open! Let’s go whale sharking!”.
Awesome! But they did warn us – the seas are going to be very rough. No problem. We just want to swim with these guys.
We walked over to the dock and met our captain, Jesus, and his son from Ceviche Tours.
Whale sharking with Jesus? What could go wrong? (Before you ask: no he couldn’t walk on water and he did not make wine from water.)
Our group climbed into a 28 foot boat and we started the long journey out into the deep blue sea in search of the whale sharks.
The guys weren’t kidding when they said is was going to be rough! This was not a boat ride for the faint of heart or those with bad backs.
After about 2 hours of bouncing and splashing we had traveled approximately 20 miles and arrived at our destination off of Isla Contoy. Our captain slowed down and shouted, “whale sharks!”. When we looked, all we could see were whale shark fins….they were everywhere!
Jesus shouted to us to get ready, time to swim with the whale sharks!
Putting a wet suit on in calm water is hard.
Putting a wet suit on in rough seas is almost impossible!
Click here to watch “Whale Sharking – The Movie”.
Here’s the play by play:
Jesus would slow the boat down and shout, “Who’s ready? I need two people. Let’s go!” He didn’t give us time to really think about what we were doing…it was hurry up and jump into this deep, dark, whale shark filled water. Which was a good thing because we have to admit it was pretty intimidating jumping off of the side of a boat into the 100 foot deep blue, wavy water into a sea of whale sharks.
As soon as we jumped in, we were surrounded by the whale sharks. They were swimming by us in all directions having a feeding frenzy on fish eggs.
Every time we would turn around there would be another whale shark. As they were feeding, they would swim directly at us so we would have to move out of the way so they didn’t run into us. Its was crazy!
It was so surreal….almost like a dream. Except for the fact that people don’t throw up during dreams. Floating around in extremely wavy, dark blue water full of fish eggs was a recipe for “the great whale shark vomit disaster” for Lisa.
That’s right, Lisa threw up. Remember in South Park how Stan threw up every time he saw Wendy? Well that’s exactly what it was like. She pulled out her snorkel, threw up into the water, pushed the vomit away, put her snorkel back in and continued whale sharking. This happened at least 5 times during our 30 minute whale shark adventure.
But we discovered an interesting fact:
Whale sharks love chorizo!
Of course Ronnie did not get sick at all. In fact, as soon as he got back into the boat he ate a sandwich that had mayonnaise on it!
For the record, several other people got sick while they were in the water also. So if you have swimming with whale sharks on your life to-do list, keep this in mind:
You may end up chumming the water!
But it is so very worth it!