So remember when I said this place was crazy? Here’s the proof.
On my first day, some excitable volunteers laid out the cold hard truth. These giants aren’t always so gentle. Unlike truly wild Whale Sharks, and more like a hungry dogs, these sharks don’t particularly mind if you are in the way of their food. Size matters and all that.
I was regaled with stories of sharks like “Ripper” and “Diver Eater” bumping into people, chasing bubbles from their fins, feeding boats running over your head giving barely any warning.
I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. I wear it on my face, which must have looked a sight, because these university students looked aghast and desperately tried to pull me back from the spiraling thoughts of “what the hell have I just signed up for?” by telling me it’s not that bad.
The biggest fish in the world sneaking up on you from behind, like a grey and white spotted ninja, and then ramming into you is not that bad. Right.
Turns out it isn’t SO bad. Ripper definitely has it in for me (and everyone else), but adapt and survive. This equates to looking over my shoulder every minute. Or listening for the warning laughs and hoots from the feeders. And the sharks are fair. They sneak up on you from the front as well (see above gif).
It’s surreal. They appear so tame when they are being fed - it’s a situation we as humans can easily relate to. However several tonnes of grey and white spots and stripes suddenly taking up your field of view isn’t. And that tail. That bone breaking tail is awesome. In the true sense of it inspires awe. I have sworn into my snorkel and clenched by sphincter several times already. The sharks not always so proficient with the latter and have provided a few samples.
We have no idea how feeding these sharks will affect their life history, behaviour, health, but I’m willing to let them bump me to find out…