I know that I already have a post about our day in Oslob, when we tried whale shark watching in Oslob and exploring Sumilon island. But here’s a more detailed blogpost about my experience swimming with the whale sharks.
Even though I have read posts of other bloggers recounting their experience swimming with the whale sharks or whale shark watching in Oslob, I didn’t expect it to be a memorable experience. When we got to MB Sunrise, I was excited but I told myself not to expect too much from the experience. I mean for me it was better if I had a low expectation when it came to the actual whale shark watching or swimming experience. I was also surprised to see that there were more foreign tourists vs. local tourists. I guess most filipinos are not that aware yet of this destination in Cebu.
The fee for the whale shark watching is different from swimming with them. For P300 you can watch them on a boat, but for an additional P200 you can swim with them (this is the charge for locals for foreigners they charge P1500 or $35-40 to swim with the whale sharks . We opted to swim with the whale sharks, I mean you are already there, best to make each moment count. Not to worry, they have life vests and snorkeling gears available for use if you forget to bring yours.
Swimming with the Whale Sharks 101
Prior to the actual swimming with the whale sharks, we were first brought to a briefing area. The briefing was quick but direct. We have to keep a certain distance away from the whale sharks, we should not put on sun screen, we cannot litter, we cannot touch it as well (there were marine biologists on stand by where they hold the watching/swimming with the whale shark and any violation from the rules set have certain repercussions). But that is on our part, if the whale shark decides to get swim closer to you and touch you (or well bump you) there is no rule against that. The protocol is to stay calm and enjoy it, just don’t panic and don’t touch it back.
Swimming with the Gentle Giants
The set up was organized, the boats were arranged to form a circle (no nets) and there are assigned fishermen who feed the whale sharks. So, as he is throwing out the food the whale sharks slowly approach. We were close to a fisherman who was feeding the whale shark so we can see them clearly. E was the only one who went in the water with no life vest (because he knows how to swim). Chie, Palos and I however opted to wear life vests. Since we rented cameras, one of our guides took photos and the other gave us directions on where to go and when to go down for the photo (he was also reminding us to not get to close to the whale sharks).
The actual encounter lasted for 30 minutes. There were a lot of times when the whale shark swam to us, but the most unforgettable thing that happened is when one came to me and touched/bumped my leg and my back! I thought that they were smooth but they were rough!
A Must Experience
For me, this experience was so unforgettable. It was different and definitely worth it. I mean, here in Manila you pay a thousand pesos to go to Manila Ocean Park and see different types of marine life species. However, that one thousand pesos does not include interacting with one that you will remember forever. Swimming with the whale sharks was so majestic for me.
MB Sunrise (should you decide to stay for one night or ask them for updated fees for Whale Shark Watching)