La Paz and the Sea Monsters

There’s all sorts of things that you think about when someone brings up the topic of Mexico, however, whale sharks were certainly not top of my list?!

We docked at around 7am in the capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur – which also just happens to be the highest capital city in the world. Now although La Paz is full of some pretty spectacular beaches and waterfronts, and contains some pretty high standards of living, the crew tour took us well away from the town and off into what I thought was going to be certain death…

It all started off with quite an innocuous advert to see if anyone wanted to see some whale sharks, sent out via email a couple of weeks earlier. Sounded fun, but then they added that we would actually be swimming with them? Didn’t they mean getting eaten by them? Must have been a typo…

A quick google just reinforced my suspicions…

1. They’re the biggest fish on the planet.

2. They can weigh up to 12 tons.

3. They can reach up to 14 meters in length.

You surely don’t get that big my snacking on Jaffa cakes.

Then to hammer home the point:

4. They also have about 3000 teeth.

OK. So after spending a bit of time steeling myself for what I thought would be my last day on Earth I found myself on a boat heading out to deeper water off the coast of La Paz. Handing us out some face masks, snorkeling devices and wet suits, we were given a quick speech by our guides.

Whale Shark5

This included the advice that we shouldn’t try and touch them (I suppose its ok if THEY bite US) since it can remove a protective layer from their skin which would make them vulnerable to diseases. No problem with that request.

So that’s how I found myself sitting on the edge of a boat muttering a few words of reassurance to myself and telling my (slightly terrified) brain that its a numbers game. Why would they eat me when there are so many other tasty people to chew on?…

Whale Shark6

… and so after a short prayer… I jumped in and my first site as my head was submerged under the ocean was…

Whale Shark1

Whale shark2

… well it almost certainly saw me. It must have already eaten one of the crew I thought. Wasn’t in the slightest bit interested in my presence.

As quick as it was there, it was out of site. I swiveled round a bit to see if I could catch a glimpse of where it was heading. Maybe it was going to double back and attack me from behind?

Whale Shark3

Gotta have eyes in the back of your head in this place. I popped my head back up and had a look around.

Whale Shark4

Couldn’t hear any screaming and no signs of blood floating on the surface of the sea. This was definitely a good sign.

I decided the only sensible option at this point seeing as our boat (my one sliver of a life line) had simply motored off to a different location was to try and enjoy it…

… and you know what? I blinking did…

These creatures are incredible. Really. Really. Incredible.

Whale Shark15

Whale Shark16

They really are utterly docile. It was almost as though we weren’t there. Going about their fishy business. Swimming around (they can’t go much above 3 mph)…

Whale Shark11

and then every now and again slowing down even further to have a feed.

Whale Shark10

Turns out despite all those teeth, they don’t use them to eat. They’re filter feeders and sieve plenty of plankton (we’re talking 10’s of kilos a day). I still wouldn’t want to risk getting in front of its mouth while its feeding though!

So after some amazing time spent with these huge softies, we eventually got picked up by the boat and were able to watch them swim around with just the odd frightening fin sticking out from the sea. Yes. It really did remind me of Jaws… and yes… I do admit to adding the filter…!

Whale Shark13

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Saving money toward financial freedom


Exposing Truth


Life is a journey

Expedition Nomadic Adventures

Traveling our world seeking adventures!

La Grenouille Anglaise

Adventures of an English Francophile

Cindy's Travel Diaries

Come explore the world through my lens!

“Summer is the season of inferior sledding” - Inuit proverb

Martha Ann Kennedy's Blog, Copyright 2013-into perpetuity, all rights reserved to the author/artist

Adventures Of A New Floridian

Join me on my adventures through life!

%d bloggers like this: