SWIMMING WITH WHALE SHARKS, EXACTLY TWO YEARS AGO TODAY!

OR, SNORKELLING PAR EXCELLANCE IN THE PHILIPPINES

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I am now sooo over eggs so I’m taking you on one of the most wonderful and magical experiences I’ve ever had.

Manila, Cebu then Oslob.

Approve or disapprove I went. I flew from ghastly Manila to Cebu, stayed at a little hotel right by the bus station, and took the first bus to Oslob.

Local bus stop

I made that sound easy but it really wasn’t and meeting up with two fellow tourists and sharing a cab didn’t mean finding the hotel was easy. The taxi driver went round in circles despite the fellow travellers sat nav and him shouting “no mate it’s up here” . The driver, as all cab drivers in the world, would not have it. so three circuits of the bus station later (the hotel was behind it ffs) we got there.During the cab ride they told me Bali “filthy place” they spat “plastic bottles all over the beach” they fumed Clean and very pleasant we were all relieved. I trotted off to the ubiquitous mall for the ATM with much trepidation.

The house that Jack built

Now Cebu is fine on the main road by the bus station but I must confess a little stressful. No pavement, electrical lines slopping down everywhere, shouting, honking and general mayhem (in other words the same as the rest of Asia) The mall was a revelation. The stressful part of getting money from the machine god was fine and the supermarket superb. snacks and weird stuff for the bus and the night at the hotel and icy cold beers. Then I smelled a very delicious porky aroma and zoned into a fabulous roast pig stall. Now then, dear reader, I still ate Mr Piggy in all forms, (now my shame is too deep and I am porkless!) but then, without shame I darted over and had a very fine crispy roast pig fing. It’s a speciality of Cebu so I feel it’s worth a mention and it’s bloody delicious. Replete and belching slightly I now waddled back to the hotel.

MY VIEW FROM MY STILTED ROOM

After a shocking nights sleep I walked round to the bus station and got my ticket at silly o’clock and finally boarded said bus. It was still dark so after half an hour we were treated to a beautiful sunrise and I had told the driver the name of my hotel so I could relax. The exit from the city was nasty and polluted but the rest of the coastal road was lovely.

View from my hotel

Arriving at my hotel I couldn’t believe my luck. So beautiful and well managed even with a little pool. It was the colour of the sea that soothed my gritty eyes along with a swim in those turquoise waters. I booked my man for the next days swim with the whale sharks.

Rocking chair overlooking heaven

Swimming with the Gentle Giants.

Bear in mind I was fresh out of India with its magnificent palaces and forts, art and huge astrological strange sculptural sites. The museums and galleries. I had planned in a nerdy anorak way without too many tourists. My logistics for travel and and hotels. My downloading of Netflix gems for the occasional lonely night. My charging of batteries for my various devices and my economic packing of just a few paltry garments I had with me. MY NEVER STOPPING DOING STUFF. NOW WAS THE TIME FOR THE SEA AND WATERFALLS.

Hooray! In London I was told that while I was in Philppines was a great time of year for the migration time of the whale sharks So after this huge effort to get to Oslob I was a little nervous that it would be an anticlimax

I was not disappointed at all and after my motorbike ride to the location we had a lecture on the policies and the respect everyone should show these magnificent creatures and NO BLOODY TOUCHING. People with sun tan lotion on had to shower and then we ushered down the beach with our dodgy snorkel and mask sets to very rickety boats with stablizers (more nervous people stayed within these confines or indeed chickened out on the boat. That was the majority surprisingly)

The beautiful beast

I was in like a flash as we only had half an hour and there were eight around our boat with babies. Reprimands were shouted at the idiots who touched them as the men in the water guarded them and watched over them, tourists are generally foul.

Give us a kiss! Its huge cavernous filter feeding mouth

They swam all around and under me their huge white speckled bodies and massive fins,tails and rippling gills sometimes only a foot from my face. At one point I had to float motionlessly on the water as one swam so closely as to graze my belly it was amazing and I actually cried in my goggles.

Big swishing tail nearly had me eye out!!

The infants and the fish that keep them clean were also very close and in view. One guide impressed by my camera took the video and some photos too for which I’m eternally grateful. even if there seems to be a lot of my bum!!

Great big beast surprising small looking eye however that is the size of a saucer

Their saucer sized eyes looked dispassionately on and in an effort the keep down in the very salty water I adopted a weird Buddhist like pose which I still remember doing

Massive gills

Whale Shark Facts.

  • average weight: 19,000 kgs or 21.5 tonnes
  • life span: around 70 years
  • habitat: tropical oceans
  • mouth size: 1.5 metres
  • average length 9.8 metres or 59 feet
  • skin thickness: 10 cm or 3.9 inches
  • largest found 69 feet
  • slow moving filter feeding carpet shark and the largest known extant fish

To be continued…….

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THIS WAS INDEED A PERFECT DAY.

OVER AND OUT FROM A NOSTALGIC REBECCA

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10 comments

  1. That photo of you practically sitting on a whale shark is amazing! I love whale sharks, with their stately grace and gentle-giant manner. I never even imagined there was a place besides the middle of the ocean where you could see one in person. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and your awesome photos!

    Liked by 1 person

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