Every year the Whale Sharks migrate to feed in the waters just a few miles from Isla Mujeres. They arrive mid-May and stay until September, and ever since we arrived in October last year it has been top of our list. Wow, what an experience worth waiting for. The Whale Sharks are the largest known fish species, and you can see in the picture how humans compare to the size of them.
The day was so special, one which I will never forget! It really was a once in a lifetime experience and I can’t put into words how we felt in the water. Rosie and I managed to shoot some pretty amazing footage, which I have been watching and reliving almost every day.
We left from Puerto Juarez (close to our home,) and were treated to an incredible breakfast and made our own baguettes for later on in the day. It took about an hour at sea before we saw all the other boats in one big circle; we had found them. There were around 20 boats, but the whale sharks were everywhere, in every direction we could see their fins it was incredible! I didn’t expect to see so many! We probably saw around 20-30 but they are known to swim in big groups, accompanied by big mantarrays below, so we were told to keep an eye out for them! We saw 2 in the end, great big things, yet so elegant in the water.
Although in the footage it looks like the whale sharks are swimming pretty slow, as soon as we jumped into the water we had to swim as hard as we could in order to keep up with them. Adrenaline just completely took over, it was such a rush! Jumping in for the first time, the whale shark made an unexpected turn and its face was right in front of us, and I had know idea what to do, or which way to swim in order to get out of its way! This first shark that we saw was the biggest and it was so fast- really hard to keep up! Eventually we lost it, turned around, and enjoyed swimming next to another one. There were 8 of us on the boat and we took it in turns to jump in in pairs. However, even from the boat the experience was spectacular, with a couple of whale sharks swimming along right beside us, and coming towards us with their mouths open. Such an incredible experience!
Our second time in the water was definitely the best, and the guide said it was the best of the day. After swimming by one Whale Shark, we were suddenly treated to two swimming side by side, and then we turned aroun
d and there was another, then another two swimming in front of us, and another behind us! We were completely surrounded, and we can now truly say that we have been in shark-infested waters. I wish I could put into words the incredible feeling, it was overwhelming and the adrenaline that kicked in is indescribable. Unforgettable. Inolvidable. We were surrounded by 7 of them with more swimming our way, this was the highlight for me, suddenly two of them were in front of us, face to face with us…. an arms distance away! All I could do was let out a scream of excitement, which was caught on Rosie’s video, as we entered into a face-off with them, before they moved and swam away. Ahh reliving it through words is sending shivers down my back. An experience I will never forget!
Definitely check out the videos
After the excitement of the Whale Sharks we then made our way back to Cancun, spotting a group of dolphins on the way! The first time I have seen them in the wild in Cancun! We then stopped for some drinks and lunch at Playa Norte, Isla Mujeres. My favourite beach, and it was beautiful! All the boats who had just been with the Whale Sharks had all stopped in the same place, and our Captain was boat hopping on the search for free beers.
The next day after all that excitement it was finally time for our Night Dive to complete our Advanced Open Water Course! The sunset over Cancun as we were leaving the marina was stunning, so beautiful, and I had to pinch myself as I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have this opportunity to live here for a year. Again, we went with our first scuba instructors Maira and Damian, and we headed out to Mancheros reef where there are a couple of statues from MUSA- the Underwater Museum, which was amazing to see at night time with the impressive shadows created with our torches.
The reef was beautiful and it was cool to see them come to life at night, I also saw my first puffer fish, which is identical to that of “shark bait hoo-ha-ha” from Finding Nemo… they did well! We then saw a turtle, and then another huge turtle which actually swam towards us and Damian and Rosie managed to get some great shots of the turtle which looks like it is in space, against the black backdrop. I loved when we turned off our torches and moved our hands quickly to see the green fluorescent life shining like the stars of the sea.
We were at 10 metres and so we spent an hour appreciating the reef, I also saw my first octopus which was cool! It was red, which I didn’t expect… no sharks out for us tonight though! I was half expecting/hoping one would suddenly appear in my light, but no. Another great dive, and we are now Advanced Open Water Divers!
9 months on, and I am still finding and enjoying all the new experiences this amazing place has to offer and appreciating every minute of my time here.