Our 2016 Mexican Whale Shark
in a Nut Shell:
Another great year with
plentiful whale sharks and lots of manta rays. We had a bit
of weather to contend with this year so we spent a day
diving cenotes but overall we had
a great trip.
This beautifully shot, four minute video by
John Dickinson sums up the week perfectly:
Diving in two beautiful
cenotes (Mexico's submerged caverns) wasn't such a bad way
to wait out the storm. We picked cenotes relatively close to
Cancun so that we didn't have to drive too far to get wet.
The cenote day was fun and although we were all pining for
whale sharks, a lot of our guests mentioned that they were
happy to have finally had the chance to dive or snorkel in a
The limestone caverns formed
many thousands of years ago when soft layers of rock were
dissolved and washed away by the passage of water. When the
water table dropped, the caves were exposed and over a
period of time, stalactites formed. Then, as the water table
rose again, the formations were again submerged resulting in
underwater stalactites. They were lots of fun to explore!
Whale Shark Wonderland
When the winds died down, the
whale sharks were waiting for us. Some days there were maybe
20 or 30. Other days the sharks were in their hundreds. On our
last day in Isla Mujeres, I would guess there were at least
250+ sharks. Its not easy to count them but if you stand on
the bow of the boat and there are 20 right in front of you,
and then you look at how far the action continues into the
distance, you start to get a pretty good idea of the overall
number. However many there were, no one went home
This year we were all thrilled
that the mantas had returned! We haven't figured out yet why
they are there in great numbers some years and virtually
absent during the same timeframe on other years. This year
was great for mantas.
Caribbean mantas are a little different from
the other two manta species. They are most like Oceanic
mantas - Manta birostris - but they appear to have slight
morphological differences so they are currently listed as
Manta c.f. brostris which is scientific lingo for 'Its a
manta but we're not quite sure if its a separate species or
not'. Time will tell.
The mantas formed feeding trains, swam in
loose aggregations, hung out on their own, barrel fed,
breached now and then and generally did all the things you
would want to see a manta do other than possibly giving
birth! It was a very special experience.
By the end of week two, everyone with a
camera or GoPro had more manta and whale shark shots than
they knew what to do with. Other than it being a bit windy,
it was a great year.
Join us and Snorkel with Whale Sharks
I'm starting to get a little
cavalier about whether we'll see whale sharks. I know there is a
theoretical chance that we'll get skunked one year but so
far the sharks have been so consistent that its looking very
unlikely they won't be there when we want them to be. Join us next year
and see if I'm right! :)
Feedback from some of
guests on the this year's whale shark trip:
A truly remarkable experience which
exceeded all of my expectations. I have always wanted to
snorkel with the whale sharks and this was absolutely the
best way to fulfill that ambition with a world class
company. Andy and Laura are awesome!
Alan M. Aliskovitz. Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Andy's whale shark dive had been on my
bucket list for awhile. Although my husband and I dive quite
often, and I have been fortunate enough to have traveled
many exotic places, the whale shark has always eluded me. NO
MORE!! Thanks to Andy and Laura I can check that one off
because we had the best days ever! There were hundreds of
whale sharks and too many mantas to count. The water was
warm and the most beautiful color of blue I have ever seen.
We were able to stay in the water with them until we were so
tired we couldn't lift another fin. My husband flew his
drone and got some very exciting footage. As with all of our
trips with BFE, we were well taken care of and had no
worries at all. We are counting the days until Socorro!!
Book early, and go, this is the easiest trip and by far one
you will never forget!!! Thanks BFE!!! John and Bobbi Dickinson, Jupiter, FL, USA.
The 2016 Whale Shark trip
was undoubtedly one of the best vacations we have taken.
From arrival at the airport to departure, Andy and Laura go
out of their way to insure everyone is happy. As for the
sharks, they are all that, and abundant also! It was a true
bucket list experience to swim with them and the manta rays
that showed up everyday to play. We sincerely plan to attend
another Big Fish Expedition and recommend them to all.
Duane Allen, Florida.
I have been on 3 Big Fish
Expeditions trips by now and surely more to come. After THE
trip of my life in Socorro, we went to Isla Mujeres to watch
whale Sharks. We had plenty of them but in addition a
fantastic show of Mantas. It's been a tremendous week.
Thanks Laura and Andy
Andre Savard, Montreal.
OF THE PROCEEDS FROM BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS FUNDS
He has photographed and dived with more sharks than most
people on this planet and he's very good at it.
Andy's images and shark stories have appeared in hundreds
of books and magazines around the world from titles as varied as
Canadian Geographic, Scuba Diving, FHM, Digital Photography, and
the Journal of Zoology.
Andy is the Creator of the ever expanding
Shark and Ray Field
Guide on Elasmodiver.com
When not running big animal expeditions or on
photographic assignments, Andy lives and dives on Vancouver Island,
Andy is also the driving force behind
the PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT
which shines a spotlight on many endangered species of sharks and
rays that are largely overlooked by mainstream conservation groups.
Predators In Peril is entirely funded by Big Fish Expeditions.