Close Encounter with Whale Shark!!!…..

Dear F&F,
May 20, 2009

The whale shark is the largest fish in the ocean. It eats only plankton, small fish & other microscopic sea yummies like manta rays do. It is shaped like an immense gray shark and decorated with white spots. This is not the season for them to be prevalent here. But at the pre-dive briefing, the dive master said to keep our eyes open for them in this area.

We motored all night to Wolf Island yesterday, 120 miles north of the central Galapagos. Darwin Island is another 30 miles north of Wolf. The dive site is a separate rock formation called Darwin\’s Arch. We had been briefed about the potential for strong currents so it was recommended we sink straight down & hold onto the rocks & wait, watching for Galapagos & hammerhead sharks to swim by. We did indeed see some of those, Scott got some of his best shark face footage *SEE PHOTO & VIDEO GALLERY*. Then the dive master pointed up & a vague shape in the blue began to appear. The elusive whale shark! We all started kicking like crazy to get a closer look at this amazing creature. I was able to swim alongside it for about a minute. It was so enormous, about 40 feet long, an estimated 80,000 lbs. yet I was totally unafraid knowing it is harmless. This was such an unexpected, wonderful experience for us.

Unfortunately 3 of the divers did not obey the \”no touch\” rule for all animals in the Galapagos. Consequently we got a big scolding when the dive was finished. People were simply excited. It is natural to want to interact. I don\’t think the whale shark even noticed us divers. We were like flies flitting about. We understand the rules & obey. But the dive master should have reminded the group beforehand, during the briefing. Sadly his verbal spanking dampened the group\’s mood after this special experience.

Fate punished us, as we effectively saw nothing the next 2 dives. Scott & I skipped the 4th dive today, since the light is fading & it is the same dive site again tomorrow. It is lumpy out here in the open ocean & many people are feeling seasick. I have been taking the stugeron Sandy Moore gave me, from Mexico & it seems to be doing the trick. I began to have itchy ear canals so in addition to my drops ritual, I began Levaquin (antibiotic) as I had to when diving at Coco. Knock wood, only slight itchy canals & no pain this time. It is a beautiful rugged place & I am enjoying my boat away from home vacation.

The other divers and crew are flocking around Scott to see his video of the day on his laptop. He is in his element. I am constantly amazed at his great footage. His videos are often better than what I saw with my own eyes!

Scott & Cindy