Linda and I have been in the water with hundreds, maybe thousands of whale sharks…in Mexico. If you ever want to experience swimming with whale sharks, contact me and I will put you in touch with just the right people to get that done. It is a mind blowing experience…and all you have to do is snorkel on the surface and move out of their way as they go by. They feed on plankton…tiny little animals in the water column…and don’t have anything that even looks like what you might think of as a sharks tooth. They are huge, but harmless.
Whale sharks are rare off the island of Hawaii. I have lived in Kona for 12 years now. I am in the ocean all the time and I have only encountered two whale sharks here…one last weekend.
The one we found last weekend was four miles off of Kona in 36oo feet of water. I jumped in and photographed it. The folks at HawaiiUncharted.org catalog each whale shark sighting as part of their research work on the big guys. I sent photos to them and they noted that this particular whale shark had never been reported to them. They are identifiable by their unique spot patterns. So, the shark got named Donny Shark. Don…my name…means Kona in Hawaiian, so Donny Shark seemed about right.
I am guessing this is a youngster…maybe about 24 feet long. They can get to be 65 feet long and I have been in the water with one that size. The swimmer along side is a local deep water expert named Cyndi “CJ” Howley. Gives you a bit of idea about the relative size of Donny Shark.
Whale sharks…one of life’s truly amazing creatures.