Our day began like all others; at 6am…haha…who are we kidding we never wake up so damn early! But no I am serious, this one time we were up, fed and ready to get on the bus by 7:00am, that being Alex, Lianne and myself, just in time to be collected.
A short trip around the cape, where we signed our lives away on a waiver, took us to Tantabiddi Bay where we took a small boat to our big boat, Jazz II. Our driver described our boat as the big white boat in the distance, there being about 10 big white boats in the water at the time. Once on board we were kitted up.
Unfortunately the journey was not all smooth sails, mostly because that day it was a little choppy with some big waves, but also because I was quite unwell, along with I’d say half of the boat. 20 minutes into our sail there were a handful of us at the rear of the boat with our heads over the edge where the air is better apparently, whilst also trying to look at the land and not be sick. I will not bore you with the details, but I will confirm that I did not partake in the evacuation of ones stomach like other unfortunate souls on the boat.
Regardless of the many people feeling the boats sway a bit too much we went on and found ourselves out at sea at our first dive site, just a small snorkel of coral to test our gear. With the waves it was a bit difficult to see, but it was a nice little swim with Alex and I seeing a turtle right before getting back into the boat.
Once back in the boat I was recommended to lie down and attempt to sleep in between dives. As it would occur, those who were able saw a few humpback whales grace the side of the boat.
Time went nicely, of course for me I was asleep quite a bit, but the time came where a whale shark was spotted and we were very quickly ushered up and told to GO, GO, GO, GET OUT OF THE BOAT!
We all got in the water pretty quickly, and without having much of an understanding of just how big a whale shark was we looked around us seeing nothing. But not for long, Lianne was one of the first and only people to spot the shark swimming just below us, as you can see it was a lot closer to us than many of us realised.
Of course feeling a little deflated at not seeing anything many of us were on the boat quite quickly after getting in the water, Lianne a little behind us as she swam with the shark a little.
It didn’t take long for the shark to be spotted again; again we got ready and were hurried into the water.
AND GUESS WHAT? WE SAW A WHALE SHARK!
Man it was so damn exciting, I think all of us forgot how to breath and swallowed a bit of water, floundered around a bit and then quickly swam to follow.
This happened again another 2 times, totaling in 4 swims with the shark and us seeing it on average 3 times between us.
For myself I was so taken back by how amazing it was to be swimming with the shark, just following it along as it went, that I barely noticed the insanely high waves or the unclear depth of the water underneath us. Who knows what was down there and I guess we are happy to never know what was, after all once the shark was out of sight again we did not hang around too much bobbing around in our seal looking wetsuits.
Throughout our dives we were given a delicious lunch, which as you can imagine many people did not eat due to their extended statue position over the side of the boat.
Our day ended with one final swim, a lot closer to shore and a lot less waves, where we encountered a pretty big stingray and some beautiful fish and coral. Slightly less exciting after swimming for half a day with a whale shark, but anyone who has been to Exmouth will understand how lovely it is, whale shark or no whale shark.
We slowly headed back to shore, where we got a little explanation into Whale Sharks by the crew’s marine biologist. The boat was parked next to the many similar looking boats and we were taken back to shore. Either from sheer exhaustion due to excitement or being unwell everyone slept on the way back to camp.
I can say with extreme confidence that it was an amazing experience, beyond anything we expected and I would recommend, if not encourage everyone to try swim with the Whale Sharks in Exmouth! For myself it was well worth feeling awful all day for.