“Talon! (Leap!)” our whale shark interplay officer shouted. Out of the blue, there have been splashes in all places and we had been within the water. It took just a few seconds to search out my orientation underwater and make out the course of the place I’m trying. I noticed our information pointing to a course nevertheless it was too late. I noticed solely a visage of a whale shark descending deeper. We’re already previous 2 hours in our Donsol Whale Shark Watching exercise and already had just a few jumps into the water but nonetheless no respectable sighting. Will we be fortunate sufficient to get actually shut and work together with a whale shark?
Donsol Whale Shark Watching
Within the months of November to Could, vacationer flock Donsol, the Southeast Luzon municipality within the province of Sorsogon for an opportunity to see and probably work together with the whale sharks. These light giants of the ocean are domestically referred to as butanding. In Southern Leyte, they name them tiki-tiki. And what these college of whale sharks are drawn to are the ample planktons and krill within the space. It was in 1998 when the locals began regulating the whale shark watching exercise within the space and noticed its potential for tourism.
Wild and Free Butanding
It was not the primary time for me to work together with the whale sharks. My first was in Oslob, Cebu. I by no means wrote about it as I didn’t just like the expertise. The locals had been feeding them so the butanding turned dependent to the purpose they might inadvertently hurt themselves by hitting the boat hull or outriggers. The snorkeling wasn’t additionally a pleasing expertise with too many vacationer flocking in the identical space.
The Donsol Whale Shark Watching is best managed and a very good instance how issues needs to be achieved. Feeding will not be allowed so the butanding exhibits up on their very own to feed. This implies sighting isn’t any assure and could be depending on the planktons and krill obtainable or the habits of the whale sharks. There are Whale Shark Interplay Officers on board to assist on the sighting and to inform us when to enter the water. Spotters are additionally on the excessive vantage level of the boat to identify butandings from afar.
Donsol Tourism Workplace
The Donsol Tourism Workplace handles all of the registration and the excursions. Throughout peak season, which is often February to April, it’s best to e book and reserve forward. They might be reached at their Fb Web page /DonsolTourism.
- Registration Payment: Php 100 for locals, Php 300 for overseas vacationer
- Boat Rental: Php 5,000 (good for six)
The boat rental could seem exorbitant however it may be shared by as much as six individuals. However in case you are touring solo, it’s a must to shoulder all the fee. The boat additionally consists of the whale shark interplay officer, spotter and different boatmen help.
Life vest and snorkeling gear are offered. You might be additionally free to convey your individual or purchase from their store.
The whale shark watching exercise last as long as 3 hours solely. Throughout these instances, relying on luck or probability, you might work together with one or many and even none. After 3 hours, the boat must return. If luck wasn’t in your facet, it’s a must to e book the exercise once more and pay the charges.
There are three window schedules every day: 7:30 AM, 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM
Mornings are the most effective time as they’re extra energetic and possibilities of sighting are excessive. Afternoons are nonetheless potential but when there aren’t sufficient vacationer, the exercise could also be cancelled.
Whale Shark Watching Tips
Earlier than embarking on the exercise, visitor are required to look at a brief video presentation on the tourism workplace overlaying a number of the important details about the whale sharks and pointers for the exercise. Right here’s a rundown of a number of the essential pointers
- Just one boat with a most of 6 individual is allowed per whale shark interplay. Whereas that is excellent, in the actual world, whale sharks transfer round and might go to different teams however having that restricted distance per boat is sweet sufficient to not crowd an space.
- Attempt to preserve a minimum of 3 meters distance from the whale sharks.
- No touching or driving the whale sharks.
- No blocking the whale shark path.
- No jet ski, scuba gear or underwater propulsion.
- No flash images.
- No fish feeding.
Our Butanding Sighting
Two and a half hours already handed and we nonetheless don’t have any shut interplay. However our whale shark interplay officer refused to surrender till the final minute. Driving our boat to a number of areas till he instructed us to prepare once more. We hear “Leap”! and we’re within the water once more. However this time a transparent sighting!
Goosebumps seeing a butanding gracefully swimming close to the floor. By the scale of it, this butanding appears to be like like a juvenile. Very playful as nicely. Making just a few rounds swimming with us earlier than it made it’s approach down. It was thrilling and exhilarating swimming with the whale shark even for a short while.
As we bought again to our boat, we congratulated every and everybody of us for a profitable sighting. I’m glad our officer didn’t hand over on us and the water readability was wonderful. It felt good to work together with a whale shark within the wild. Everybody have smiles on their faces and good reminiscences as we head again to shore.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning journey photographer, author and blogger. His works has discovered print in publications equivalent to Singapore Airways’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airways’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has additionally lent his experience to numerous organizations just like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Basis, Save the Kids and World Imaginative and prescient, contributing high quality photographs for his or her advertising supplies.