Snorkelling with Whale Sharks

We came to Mafia Island to swim with the Whale Sharks. We had learned that here is the best place in the world to do that. We stayed at Afro Whale Shark Safaris, from where the tours start, and it didn’t take long and our guides spotted them. We geared up with snorkel and fins and waited on the side of the boat, until we were told to GO! More than once, when we went under water, we were directly in front of one of this gentle giants.

Whale Shark coming to the surface

Whale Sharks are slow-moving, filter-feeding carpet sharks and the largest known fish species in our oceans. We were assured they feed almost exclusively on plankton and small fishes, and pose no threat to humans. Its mouth is located at the front of the head and opened wide to get us much plankton as possible, the width of it up to 1,5 metres. The ones we saw around Mafia Island were about 10 metres long, but they can get even bigger, up to 18 metres! Whale Sharks can dive very deep, but here at Mafia they find sufficient plankton close to the surface, which makes swimming with them possible. If you go fast with your fins, you can keep up with them for a while, but eventually you will see their tail disappear in front of you.

Watch the following videos, to get an impression of this giant fish:

Yussuf – our guide who made sure we had a great experience

With Yussuf we were singing: “In the ocean, the peaceful ocean, the whale shark sleeps tonight, ….”

We had a great time at Mafia, and snorkelling with the Whale Sharks was really a great experience. In the end we went 3 times to swim with them.

We will now fly back to Dar es Salaam and continue directly to Zanzibar!! More on the following posts.

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