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Whale Sharking!

Published on 2013-03-27, by in Travel.

I’ve spent most of my life on my butt in front of a monitor of some kind.

I didn’t play on sports teams, pick up any outdoor hobbies to meet friends or even stay after school for electives. So sometimes I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of experiences in my life.

Now that I have seen more of the world I know I shouldn’t complain. Growing up in the US spoils you like no other country can. I’ve now seen very young people who have never had a room to themselves much less a computer. Who work and play often but don’t seem to go to school much. Yet I recommend traveling the world to everyone. I also recommend starting your own business or at least trying to. Both events will change your perspective in a way that makes you sit back and say “Wow, I had no idea the world was like this”.

It comes from seeing and experiencing the best and worst life has to offer. In other words to really “see the world” through new eyes means taking in the good as well as the bad. So why is when someone talks about their trip somewhere they only talk about the good, the fun, and the excitement?

  1. Who want’s to listen them if that’s what they want to talk about?
  2. No one will “really get it” anyway. It’s something that can’t be heard to be understood. It needs to be experienced to really effect you. 

So this gallery is dedicated to one of the most epic moments of life. Something I wish my children can see, my friends could come see, and that kid graduating from HS maybe he will put college on hold and travel a bit before college so he can see this and let it change him.

On the Island of Cebu, one of the Philippines 7000+ islands is a major city with airport called Cebu (yes Cebu, Cebu :P). Two hours away by bus (About $4 USD) is a small town of Oslob. Everyday dozens of tourists, mostly young backpackers from Europe  come here for only one thing. To swim with Whale Sharks.

 The whale shark holds many records for sheer size in the animal kingdom, most notably being by far the largest living non-mammalian vertebrate, rivaling many of the largest dinosaurs in weight. -Wikipedia

Much like the Tiger Temple in Thailand there is controversy about what they are doing here. Every morning the locals get in a long raft, paddle out and feed the Whale Sharks so they come near the water and hang around for as long as possible. Which if you know much about filter feeders that’s not a natural behaviour. For a small fee (about $20 USD if I recall) and after a short safety demonstration they will give you an optional life vest, mask and snorkel. Then a team of local Cebuanos will paddle you out and position their boat next to the ‘feeder boat’. (Boat is such a loose term here, think big long wooden canoe) So you can jump in to the water so you can swim next to and admire the whale for the next 30 minutes.

How was it? IT WAS AWESOME! Perhaps you can’t tell from the pictures above but these things are huge! Yet these bad boys we’re not even considered “large” by whale shark standards. The biggest one we saw that day, what your friends might call ‘bigger than my daddies pickup truck‘ was considered “medium” sized. If your afraid of sharks, please relax these are “filter feeders”. I got a good luck down it’s mouth and didn’t see anything scary.

In case your wondering why I didn’t take any pictures down it’s mouth? Well how do you think there are pictures of me up there? For what I would call a “very reasonable price” (so cheap!) you can rent not just an underwater camera but a local photographer as well! We split this up with the 5 of us and cost each I think $2 USD.

It really was an amazing day. I’m so happy we hired the photographer these pictures mean a lot to me. After our swim with these majestic creatures we hopped back on a bus that comes by every 15-30 minutes. Paid our $4 fare. Went back to our $8 hostel. Enjoyed a nice filling $3 dinner. What a life!

There are lots of reasons to travel the world. Tons of choices for places to see and things to experience. Swimming with Whale Sharks is in top 5 recommendations. As you can see from the prices above, getting here is the hardest part. So I hope this encourages someone to bunker down, maybe start a business or save more money. Then take the magnificent plunge and GO TRAVEL!

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