The gentle giants.
Snorkeling with whale sharks has never been on our wish list but since we were going to Apo island via Oslob we decided to stop by and see what’s the hype. People have mixed opinions about this activity, from total obsession to disapproval. Fact is they used to kill them, but then one got the idea of feeding them so they will attract tourist. And they do! But they are also ruining the ecosystem. I think this is the lesser evil, better than killing them, right?
It’s best to spend the night in Oslob (in the city the rooms are supposed to be cheaper but I’m not sure, 800P for a fan room, 1500P for AC room) and fo to see the whale sharks early in the morning, 7 am is the best hour because there are enough whales and not too many tourists. Some people come from Cebu and other islands so later can be really crowded. From Oslob you need to ride 15 min to the whale shark area, the cheapest is with a jeepney (10P), bus (15/30P) or rickshaw/motorbike (50P). There are some people (like a guy named Michael) who will tell you jeepneys and buses don’t drive at that hour (they do, even at 5 am) just so they can drive you there. He also told us that resorts charge 100P to get in and he can take us to the place where we won’t pay the fee. Also a lie, the whale watching sign is really clear and you can’t miss it. I have no problem with people want to make money but this is all lies.
This is a well oiled machine. After quick briefing (maybe the most important part is that you can not wear sun screen as it harms whale sharks) you pay 1000P fee for tourists (locals pay 500P) and then they assign you a boat (you can also rent an underwater camera and a guide will take pictures of you with a whale). You get in, they drive you 20 m and there they are, huge creatures sucking water with shrimps like a big water vacuum cleaners. They’re not harmful but enormous! People are very close to them and they are moving all the time so 4 m distance that you should keep is not possible. I couldn’t get close, they were too big but Mic got quite close. I was shrieking when that mouth pointed at me. Yikes!
You have 30 min in water with them which for us was not enough. I was too excited in the beginning and would probably need another 30 min to get more relaxed 😀 Thankfully, Mic kept his cool and made this video 🙂