Whale Sharks in Maldives, gives you the opportunity of a lifetime, if you love great nature-experiances. As we already have indicated the snorkeling in Maldives is in a league above most other places, and pretty quickly turtles, mantas and colorful fish becomes an everyday object. But there is one special thing you need to check out – the whale sharks – the biggest fish on the planet.
The whale shark is a filter feeder, that opens its mouth and swims forward, pushing water and food into the mouth and known as the gentle giant of the sea. Reaching lengths of 12 meters or more, this really is a huge and very impressive animal. The Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme, in which Maafushivaru is one of the 4 resorts participating, is trying to preserve the species living in Maldives. Some of the problems that the MWSRP encounters is injuries on the fish, which is believed to come from boats speeding on the reef, and the fact that there is no regulations. MWSRP gathers magic information on the current population size, gender bias and haw to identify male or female sharks, average sizes and of course logging all encounters since 2006.There are 207 registered Whale Sharks in the Maldives, and some of these have been named Lucky, Pedro etc. Hopefully the work will secure the population of these majestic creatures, and making sure that our grandchildren will be able to jumbo in the waters with these gentle giants. Please read more about the programme on http://maldiveswhalesharkresearch.org
We booked the whale shark tour at ocean reef with Maafushivaru, which is offered by the resort. First off we had a short brief on land, before boarding the resorts boat heading for the reef. During the transportation time to the reef, the marine biologist Per handed out good information about the Whale Shark, making sure the participants knew how to act around the whale shark and what else you need to know about this fish. Actually there is a lot a mysteries about the whale Shark as we don’t know that much about it. They live in the very deep waters, and are believed to feed on 2 – 3 km depth. When they get cold, the come up to the surface, and gets warm in the shallow waters over the ocean reef. For some reason, the fish you meet on the reef, is mainly male and up to 6-7 meters. It swims slowly on top of the reef, and if you are a stabile experienced swimmer and wearing fins, you can follow it. Be aware that there can be several boats at the reef at the same time, and when one boats spots a whale shark, some of the others drop off their guests right besides to join in. This makes it a bit crowded once in a while, so try to go in the water pretty quick and remember to watch out for the other snorkelers. As the waters can be a little ruff, it is also important that you are a strong swimmer or wearing a lifejacket. As one every trip with Maafushivaru, the boat crew was really helpful towards the ladies and younger persons, to make sure that they could keep up with the gray giant and got a good experience. They know how to provide a rap 5 star feel in every possible way.
We were lucky to see 4 whale sharks at the reef in total, and we had the companionship of one of these for almost a hour, just cruising along the reef together with this beauty. This experience is truly magical, and something we would recommend everyone going to the Maldives to try. We believe that this is something you will never forget.