Thursday, August 24, 2017

Swimming With Whale Sharks!

While in Isla Mujeres during "whale shark season", we decided to book a tour to swim with these giant fish. The whale sharks are only around a few months of the year, so we figured we'd do this while the timing was right. These tours are sold everywhere, but we decided to book with the vendor outside of our hotel since it was so convenient. We weren't sure who he was booking us with, but it turned out that he hooked us up with a great tour company .. Ceviche Tours!

We meet our tour guide the next morning at the dock, then boarded a power boat with six other guests & the two tour guides ... Fred, the ceviche maker & guy who swam with us & pointed out the whale sharks .. and Jesus, the captain & owner of Ceviche Tours. After about an hour ride & some talk on his VHF, Jesus found the sharks. Jesus was about to stop the boat when he got another call on the VHF .. another spot a bit further had more whale sharks. We went another 5-10 minutes and stopped where one other boat was. It turned out we were 25 miles off the Isla Mujeres coast and in 130 feet of water. We could see the huge fish feeding off of plankton on top of the water .. so slow & graceful.

All of us put on our fins & snorkel gear, as well as a life jacket around our waists. Ken & I were prepared to be scared to jump off the boat .. after all, these are the largest fish in the world! However, we were both surprisingly calm and had no problem jumping in. We stuck our faces under the water & instantly saw these gentle giants around us. They'd gently glide by with their mouths open to suck up the plankton & algae, and then we'd find ourselves alone. It was a trip that when we'd look in the water, it was still blue ... and there were no other fish in sight. Whenever Fred or one of us would see more whale sharks, we'd yell at all the others to "look down". One time Fred told me to look down, which I did .. only to find myself about 5 feet away from one of these creatures and right in the path of its mouth! I didn't wanna find out if I'd be sucked up, so I quickly moved out of the way .. while kicking the guy behind me I'm sure.

We didn't bring an underwater camera with us, so we don't have any photos of the whale sharks, but here's a few from Ceviche Tours ..

.. and here's a video too!


After about an hour in the water, Jesus called us back to the boat and we headed to the beautiful Playa Norte beach on Isla Mujeres for relaxing & ceviche. As were headed back, Jesus pointed out a ton of boats in the distance .. there were so many it looked like a city! Jesus said the boats were whale shark tour boats. We then realized how lucky we were to have Jesus take his time to find us a better spot. The amount of boats were ridiculous! If we'd have stopped there, we would have had to take turns & probably would have only been in the water 10-15 minutes. Glad Jesus found a better spot!

Once we stopped at Playa Norte beach, Jesus pulled out fresh fish fillets, tomatoes, onions & seasonings for Fred to cut up for ceviche. While Fred prepared the ceviche, we chilled in the clear water & enjoyed the scenery. 

Ken enjoying the water ...

We'd never had ceviche before, but we decided to try it after learning that the raw fish actually cooks with the added lime juice. It was really good, and I went back for seconds .. so light & refreshing!

We're so glad that our marina friends recommended taking the whale shark tour! When you think of being in the middle of the Caribbean Sea & swimming with wild, giant creatures .. it's pretty amazing! Give Ceviche Tours a try if you're in the area during whale shark season. We don't get anything for recommending them .. we just liked them. If you're there in the Winter, they have a Sail Fish tour that sounds pretty cool too!

Next up .. we try our first Airbnb in Cancun!

Hasta luego .. until then. Mid-Life Cruising!


Changes in the wind said...

Now that is an experience! You are brave I must say.

Emily said...

Ceviche is one of my favorite things to eat! I first tried it in the US after learning about it, and once I discovered it, I couldn't get enough of it in Belize or Mexico. Glad you got to try it -- and snorkeling with the whale sharks must have been an amazing experience. I have not done that but would love to some day!

The Cynical Sailor said...

Wow - you guys sure are brave! I do my best to avoid swimming with sharks :-)

Mike M. said...

That's an awesome experience! So very cool to be able to add that to your list of memories!


Unknown said...

WOW!!! Brave stuff. Liked it and at the same time i'm curious to know that isn't Wahle sharks are dangerous to be around with them?. You have really captured beautifully and posted pics. Good !!.

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