For an exciting underwater diving holiday, why not dive with whale sharks in Belize’s sharks are the largest fish in the sea
measuring more than 40 feet in length. In spite of their mass and relationship to the dreaded shark family, these behemoths are filter-feeders Slightly like baleen whales. They strain their food for plankton from the water as they swim. These serene giants have insignificant interest in people.
Whale sharks are found around the world in tropical and semi-tropical waters. It is an ancient species first appearing some 60 million years ago. They are migratory and can be seen with some regularity on discrete reefs during certain times of the year.
As with most sharks, it is a target of commercial fishing, and though the exact numbers around the world are not known,
it is thought of as an exposed species. In Taiwan, the whale shark is sometimes called the tofu shark because of the similarity in the taste and texture of the meat to tofu.
One of the best and most accessible places for North Americans to dive with whale sharks is near Gladden Spit on the Belize Barrier Reef in Central America. The Belize Barrier Reef is the second-largest in the world next to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Here around the time of the full moon in March through June, the Culebra snapper breeds in large numbers.
Whale sharks time their visit to these spawning periods dining on the vast quantity of eggs released by the fish. Whale sharks endure divers and snorkelers quite well regardless of their alarming size. Although it isn’t unusual for drivers to hitch rides on the sharks by grasping onto a fin, it’s not encouraged at the Gladden Spit shark area. But getting quite close and photographing them is!
A few resorts and dive operators provide daily visits to dive, with whale sharks in the spring full moon visits at Gladden Spit but one of the most experienced is, Isla Marisol Resort on close by Glover’s Atoll. A spotter network at the spit helps make sure that the sharks can be readily found. This favored all-day visit includes lunch and often a couple of dives with the sharks.
If you’re a scuba diver or snorkeler do not miss getting close to these placid giants in Belize! John Randall is a diver and experienced guide of many wildlife tours. His love of diving with Belize’s whale’s sharks has taken him to Belize many times.