Isla Mujeres Mexico: 5 Things You Should Know Before Swimming With Whale Sharks
Swimming with whale sharks is one of the coolest things we've ever done. To be so up close and personal with such a large animal was an amazing experience. We think everyone should give it a try. What should you know before you go? Below are five tips that will help you plan your excursion.
1. Whale Sharks Are Not Dangerous
Whale sharks are neither whale nor shark. They're just a big fish. Although "big" doesn't really do them justice. Whale sharks are huge! They grow to 40ft feet long and can weigh 20 tons, but they won’t hurt you. They feed on tiny fish eggs. They’re gentle and seemed very indifferent to our presence. It’s still definitely intimidating being in the water as they swim by you and your heart rate will go up, but there’s no reason to be afraid of them.
2. Not All Excursion Companies Are The Same
It's vital that the company you choose is dedicated to preserving the animals you're interacting with. Not all companies care, and in fact, some are downright negligent. We did research and settled on Ramon and Searious Diving. We weren't disappointed. These guys really care about the animals and do everything they can to keep them safe. Our guides were great, and they even made us fresh ceviche on the boat. Whoever you choose make sure they know what they're doing and that they want to preserve the animals. One thing that is consistent is the price. We found that just about every company charges 125 dollars a person for the tour. What you get for that cost can vary though so be sure to check before you book.
3. The Boat Ride Will Probably Make You Sick
From Isla Mujeres, it’s about an hour boat ride to where the fish feed. We went out on a relatively calm day, and it was still a choppy ride. Neither of us got too sick, but we were slightly queasy. Take Dramamine an hour before you head out and bring some more to take while you're on the water. You know yourself better than we do, but if you tend to get seasick, you'll probably get nauseous on the boat.
4. Schedule The Earliest Tour Possible
Our tour started at 7 am with breakfast at the marina. We first jumped in the water around 8:30. That first run was the best. We saw the highest concentration of fish then. With each trip back into the water and as we got closer to noon, the fish started to clear out. The sooner you can arrive the better. Book your tour as early as you can for the best experience.
Because whale sharks feed on the surface, wearing sunscreen is a bad idea. Even reef safe sunscreen collects on the surface where they eat and gets into their food. So instead, bring a long T-shirt, wear a hat and stay under the cover on the boat. Once you head back though, lather up!
We hope you get a chance to swim with whale sharks someday! It was such a great experience for us. Searious Diving made our time in the water so much fun. Hopefully, we have inspired you to plan a trip around seeing these remarkable creatures in the water. You won't be disappointed. Have you ever swam with whale sharks? Is it something you would like to try? Let us know your thoughts below in the comments.