Diving with whale sharks… finally!

Diving in the Maldives was epic mainly because… WHALE SHARKS! I’ve never seen them in the wild before this and I finally managed to see them on this trip!

They really are as amazing as you might imagine – HUGE, though the first two we saw were not very big, babies by whale shark standards, but the last one we saw was pretty big at around 8m in length at least.

Maldives - Whale Shark
See that size comparison with the dive guide below?

The Maldives is a great place to see them – the waters in November are plankton rich, and while visibility isn’t as high because of that, that’s also prime whale shark season. We found our whale sharks at Maamigilli Out Reef in the South Ari Atoll – spending the afternoon after our first morning dive in the dhoni hunting for them along the reef.

Maldives Whale Shark
This was the second whale shark that we saw. I love the patterns and colouring – did you know each whale shark’s spots are unique like fingerprints? Taken by P

‘Hunting’ basically comprises of our dive guides and boat men clustered on the roof of the boat, squinting out at the sea searching for whale sharks while the rest of us ready our fins, masks and snorkels. Lots of boats are out in the water with snorkelers and divers alike doing the same thing, so you’ve gotta hope that your boat comes across the whale sharks first before all the other boats descend.

Once there’s a shout, every one straps on their fins and masks and gets into position, all ready to jump in the water. And then it’s all JUMP! GOGOGO! and madness ensues as everyone plunges into the water and swims frantically towards the direction of the whale shark while the people on the boat shout directions. Getting this footage was not easy at all – a lot of shots had to be cut, and whale sharks are no joke to keep up with because even though they look like they’re swimming very slowly, their sheer size means a harder swish of their tail and diving deep and they’ll disappear in a flash!

Maldives Whale Shark
A close up of the head of Whale Shark #2. Taken by P
Maldives Whale Shark
I like the look of this shot in BnW 🙂 Taken by P

As you can see, with the sheer size of the whale shark, it’s pretty hard to get decent pictures of them if you don’t have a wide angle lens! I spent most of my time taking videos though, so have to give huge props to dive buddy P for the great and clear pix she took!

Here’s a video that I cut from the video footage taken with a combination of the Sony Action Cam HDR AS-15 that Sony kindly loaned me, and my trusty old Canon S90. I was experimenting with the Sony video camera then, so sadly it’s not set on the wide angle lens, otherwise I think I might have managed some more epic shots. Am still quite happy with how it turned out overall though, do let me know what you think!

Need more travel inspiration?
Sign up now and get the latest blogposts straight in your mailbox. Also, exclusive discounts and perks to help you travel better! (No spam, just travel goodies!)

10 comments to Diving with whale sharks… finally!

    • Hi cloudandsea, I did have my dive license already before going to Maldives, I have rescue diver certification (level after open water and advanced for PADI). Personally I would recommend you get your license and a bit more experience before going to Maldives because the waters there are not the easiest to dive – some spots have strong currents / cold waters which will make it rather painful for the newbie diver who doesn’t know how to deal with it.

      That being said, I think you could get your license in Maldives, you need to check with your dive centre if that’s possible. Bit of a waste though because basic level certification requires you to do basic drills in the water, you don’t really want to waste your time in beautiful maldives waters doing that! I recommend somewhere like Tioman to get certified, near to Singapore and not as expensive.

      Also, some dive centres offer fun dives which don’t require certification, that’s an option. Or you can just go snorkeling – if you’re looking for whale sharks specifically, you don’t actually need to scuba dive with them, you can see them as a snorkeler!

  1. Totally delayed comment here, but that video kicks it! Laura and I just got back from diving in Honduras. I shot with a GoPro and did alright with it, but need more practice with stability (very shaky on the camera). Loved your video!

    • Thanks Lance! You should check in with Murissa too – she took a gopro with her to Hawaii I think.

      But yeah video is a lot harder than it looks! Appreciate the comments, and I definitely want to check out your Honduras diving stories… I’ve never dived in that part of the world before!

    • Thanks Helen! I know it was seriously quite amazing to see them in real life so up close, you have to do something like this at least once in your life…

Leave a Reply