Monday, May 25, 2015

May 18, 2015 - La Paz Whale Shark excursion

Before we left La Paz we had heard that you should swim with the whale sharks.  Well, we can say for sure it is a humbling experience.  We hired a panga and driver to take us out there which turned out to be the best move as they find them and then stay with them allowing you to slide out of the panga and swim along with them.  The panga driver then picks you up, moves the boat to them once again, drop you and repeat this experience.  First time out we all were mesmerized at the size.  Also, they let us off in front of the shark and this basically bus sized fish just swims toward you not paying attention to the humans, peons, that are near it.   It was difficult to stay with them, they seem to not notice us humans and continue their journey.  Some of our drops were right in front and we had the thought of them swallowing us up, they are HUGE!   I could hear Cindy scream a few times and try to swim off to the side to avoid it but in reality it really did not seem to notice us and may have been further than we thought.  Great time but difficult photos and video so we are adding a photo or two from the internet and some information Cindy has found out about them.  If you go to La Paz, definitely do this!

Picture we took of a whale shark
Another whale shark picture from us
A picture from the internet since ours do not do it justice.  
Heading back to La Paz

Information on these creatures from the internet:
Whale sharks - the largest fish in the ocean and return every winter to the waters of the Bay of La Paz. Swimming with these gentle giants can be the perfect end to a dive trip or island outing.
From early winter until late spring the whale sharks can be found feeding in the rich waters of the Sea of Cortez and in the Bay of La Paz in Baja California Sur. The gentle giants of the sea are the largest fish in the world and each season return to the waters close to the city of La Paz. Seeing these ocean behemoths in their natural environment or swimming close to these fish can be an exciting outing for young and old. Island tour boats that visit the Isla Espiritu Santos or the sea lion colony at Los Islotes often close the trip with a whale shark encounter.
whale sharks in the Sea of CortezWhale sharks are fish, not air breathing mammals, as they come from the family of the second part of their name, sharks and the Rhincodon genus. These giant filter feeding fish known scientifically as Rhincodon typus eat amongst the smallest creatures in the ocean , plankton. Moving slowly through the water, filtering thousands of gallons per day, these fish glean their nutrients from the rich winter waters of the Sea of Cortez.
Whale shark encounterWhale sharks are the largest known species of fish, growing to 12.5 meters and can weigh as much as 79,000 pounds. The whale sharks here in La Paz are often 7-10 meters in length. The fish can live as much as 70 years. The species originated about 60 million years ago. Whale sharks have very large mouths, they feed mainly, though not exclusively, on plankton, microscopic plants and animals, and occasionally on small fish.
whale shark in Bay of La PAzOnce plentiful in the waters of the worlds oceans, the whale sharks are an endangered species and protected under international and Mexican law. They are not good eating.

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