The expedition to jump into the open water with a giant fish is moving forward for the end of July time frame! We’re traveling to Isla Mujeres, Mexico to swim eye to eye with Whale Sharks for their traditional migration. Whale Sharks primarily live in tropical warm waters and typically found in the open ocean. From mid-May to mid-September, the Gulf of Mexico waters around lsla Mjueres (located just north east of the Yucatan Peninsula) contains hundreds of migrating Whale Sharks.
The Whale Shark is the worlds largest shark and the largest living species of fish. The Whale Shark is primarily grey in color with a white underside, marked with a unique pattern of pale yellow spots and stripes that run the length of its body. Whale Sharks can grow up to 50 feet long and weighing up to 15 tons. The average Whale Shark is around 25 feet long. The Whale Shark is believed to live between 60 to 150 years of age. The mouth of a Whale Shark can be up to 5 feet wide with over 300 rows of tiny teeth (up to 3,500 teeth).
The Whale Shark can look very intimidating! The fish’s nickname is the Gentile Giant. The Whale Shark is a very docile fish that swims at very slow speeds and poses no real danger for for swimmers, snorkelers or divers. The key to swimming safely with the giant fish is to say near the head of the animal and away from their powerful tails. It’s also important not to get in between two of the giant fish and getting crushed as they swim side by side as they bump into one another.
The primary diet for the Whale Shark is plankton, algae, small fish, squid and other small creatures swimming around in the ocean. The Whale Shark feeds by opening their large mouths and sucking in huge amounts of water. Once their mouths are completely filled with water, they begin to expel the water through their gills. As the water is expelled, a lining along the gills prevent anything but water from passing through …thus leaving anything that was in the water in the mouth of the Giant Fish to swallow. The teeth of the Giant Fish really doesn’t play a part in their feeding.
Please let me know if you have an interest in spending a weekend in Mexico, jumping into the ocean and swimming with the Whale Shark. The experience will be exhilarating!