WHALESHARKS- THE MOST FAMOUS RESIDENT ON NINGALOO REEF
Every year from April to July following the mass spawning of coral, the world’s biggest species of fish congregate in the Ningaloo Marine Park. These are the Whalesharks! The chance to snorkel with these gentle giants is the opportunity of a lifetime and visitors from all over the world head to the Ningaloo Reef during Whaleshark season. These massive filter feeders can grow up to 18m long. They cruise the world’s ocean in search of concentrations to feed on. Ningaloo Reef is one of the only places they appear regularly in large numbers. Very little is known about the biology of these creatures so research is ongoing.
Day tours to snorkel with Whalesharks depart daily during the season from both Exmouth and Coral Bay. The experience is open to confident swimmers of all ages..
There are a number of companies that operate these tours in both Exmouth and Coral Bay, they are as follows:
In Exmouth, the companies are Exmouth Dive Centre, King's Ningaloo Reef Tours, Ningaloo Blue Charters, Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim, Three Islands Whale Shark Dive, Ningaloo Whaleshark-N-Dive, Ocean Eco Adventures and Oceanwise Research Expeditions.
In Coral Bay, there are three companies that operate tours and they are Coral Bay Eco Tours and Ningaloo Reef Dive.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT ON YOUR DAY OUT
These full day charters include transfers from your accommodation, buffet lunches, refreshments and all snorkelling gear. Wetsuits are available on request. If you require prescription masks or kids wetsuits please advise at time of booking. The prices start from $360 per person.For those who would like to do a dive on the Ningaloo Reef and the Whale Shark snorkel, prices start from $415 per person. All companies do have a NO SIGHTING POLICY which means that if no Whale Sharks are sighted on your tour, you can go out on the NEXT AVAILABLE DAY FOR FREE. We do suggest that you book your Whale Shark tours well in advance if you are coming during the peak season and that you plan your Whale Shark tour at the beginning of your holiday. This affords you the best possible chance to go out the next available day should you not see any Whale Sharks on your first tour. Companies will have different policies regarding the expiration of the No Sighting Policy ie offer extends just within the season, for 1 year or longer. There are no refunds on the 'No sighting policy' so this may be something to consider if you are on a tight schedule. The No Sighting Policy cannot be transferred between companies.
All the tours follow the same general structure. They begin with a snorkel (some companies offer a dive) on the reef first. This is to make sure that everyone can swim and that everyone is comfortable with their equipment. If you require assistance or have any concerns in the water this is the time to voice them. While you are in the water the spotter planes will head up to try and locate your Whaleshark and hopefully by the time you are finished on your reef snorkel a Whaleshark has been spotted and you can begin your journey toward its location.
Only ten people can be snorkelling with the Whaleshark at any given time. This is governed by the licenses issued via the Department of Environment and Conservation. A ' Whaleshark spotter' will be in the water with you at all times. You are required to snorkel 3 metres away from the Whaleshark body and 4 metres away from their tail. Please be aware that your Whaleshark swim will be in the open ocean outside the reef, therefore a confident swimming ability is recommended.
The length of your swim is determined by many factors. Licence restraints, behaviour of Whaleshark, numbers of Whalesharks, fitness etc. But rest assured one minute will last a lifetime. Companies generally have a videographer onboard, who for a fee, can provide you with a visual record of your day.
So what are you waiting for? This is an experience you will never forget.
CLICK HERE NOW TO BOOK YOUR WHALESHARK TOUR
Whaleshark Festival 2012
For more information on the WHALESHARK please click here
To ADOPT a Whaleshark and aid research click here