Do you want to dive with Whale sharks in Galapagos? There are many reasons for planning a dive trip to Galapagos, to dive with Whale sharks is just one of them.
Yes, there are a half a dozen or so other locations where you can dive with them. However, none are as unique as the Galapagos. Like the Hammerheads, Whale Sharks are found year-round in the Galapagos Islands with a yearly migration increasing the numbers during Whale Shark season.
Darwin and Wolf Islands are where the liveaboard boats go to for the ultimate Whale Shark experience. The best time to dive with Whale Sharks in Galapagos from a liveaboard is the dry season between June and Dec. If you want a small chance to see them on the central islands it is during the wet season Dec - May (although it is not very likely you will see one).
Did you know that Whale Sharks are larger than most whale species?
Whale Sharks, whose scientific name is Rhincodon typus, are the largest fish in the world with adults generally in the 10 to 12-meter range (33 to 40 feet).
Recent studies in Australia have stated that it is possible that 18 meter (50 feet) long Whale Sharks probably exist. Whale Sharks are migratory and do not stay in the same area year round. There are a few locations where man has changed their patterns. However, the Galapagos Islands are the primary location where this happens naturally.
While many of the Whale Sharks around Galapagos will migrate and return the following year, a good percentage of them stay within the archipelago. Three different ocean currents converge on the archipelago, each from a different temperature zone. Between these three currents, there is always, at least, one bringing in plankton that is the Whale Sharks primary food source.
The best way to find Whale Sharks in Galapagos is by joining a trustworthy dive operator who will monitor the currents, the water temperature, and the winds to identify the best locations to find the Whale Sharks.
The Whale Shark Code of Conduct
Swimmers and divers can get quite close to Whale Sharks because they stay close to the surface as they feed. However, you should always keep your distance to avoid scaring the animals. Watch from afar and just take it all in.
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Because Whale Sharks move slowly, it may be tempting to get close and attempt to touch or even ride it. (I know it sounds stupid, but it does happen) Again, this will only serve to make you a threat to the Whale Shark that will end up swimming off to avoid you.
But, in addition to keeping your distance, remember the following pointers to have the best experience.
- Do not use underwater motorized diver propulsions vehicles (DPV)
- Do not use a flash when photographing these animals
- Keep at least 3 meters away from the Whale Shark at all times
- Do not do anything that could restrict the normal behavior or * movement of the Whale Shark
- Do not, I repeat, Do not attempt to touch, ride, or chase it
Would you like to dive with Whale sharks in Galapagos? Contact us today, we have multiple partners on Galapagos who offer dive packages + accommodation.
Article written by Rutger Thole who is an avid scuba diver and loves to travel, dive and write about scuba diving. Based in Amsterdam, he runs bookyourdive.com and at least twice a year he plans a dive trip of the beaten track.