[TRAVELS] Island Trekker PART 2: Whale Shark Snorkeling @ Oslob, Cebu

Posted by swisscheese on Jun 5, 2017 in cebu, snorkeling |

Island Trekker PART 1: Tumalog Falls

Island Trekker PART 3: Kawasan Falls

After we were done at Tumalog Falls, it was time for the most exciting part of the trip – Swimming with the whale sharks!! We took the motorcycle back to P&J before getting into our car for the whale shark destination.

Oslob Whale Shark Watching
Natalio Bacalso Avenue,
Oslob, 6023 Cebu, Philippines

When we have arrived, we had to go for our briefing. In tagalog, whale shark is known as butanding. For being known as one of the largest fish in the world, it measures up to 18m and weighs more than 34 tons. Thankfully, they consume only small fishes and zooplankton via sucking the water through their large mouths. That explains why we can be in close proximity with the whale shark, although there should be a 4 meters distance apart and we are not allowed to touch them. One of the important guidelines of swimming with the whale sharks is not to put on any sunblock as one of the ingredients of the sunscreen lotion will harm the whale shark. If you happened to have it on, you have to wash it off before getting to the whale shark point or you will be fined or jailed once discovered. This is to protect the sharks since whale sharks are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN.

So after the briefing, we hopped onto our canoe bangka boat. The boat was actually filled by 6 people already so we were the last four to head in. It took us only 5 minutes to arrive at the Whale Shark Point by boat and once you have arrived, you are already able to see the whale sharks from the boat. First, we got inside the waters with our vest to get a feel of the water and the temperature of the water proved to be warm and comfortable to swim in. When I wanted to submerge into the waters, I took out my vest and decided to swim. Although the boatmen were nice to keep snapping photos for us using the water camera we rented, they were too fast and kept repeating “1, 2 and 3″ when we just got out of the water after diving down to take the pictures. The water is really salty and we need to fix our snorkeling gear before diving down the waters once again but the boatman are a little too fast. I think that for this trip, it is fine to rent the water camera (500 pesos / SGD$15.16) but not the snorkeling gear (500 pesos / SGD$15.16) as it will be hard for you to breathe if you dive into the waters. It is best to bring your swimming goggles for this experience instead.

I was lucky to have a few pictures with the whale sharks although my pose was laughable. I am so thankful and glad to swim with the whale sharks with one of my best friends and although our boyfriends are not able to swim, they got out of their comfort zone and mingle with us in the waters for a bit before getting back up to the boat. The only thing I was upset about is that we only got half an hour to be at the whale shark point. That seems too quick and the area is a little crowded and messy since there were about 6 boats surrounding that area. Too many people were in the area and some of us ended up kicking one another. We are also not allowed to swim freely as the boatman will keep asking us not to go too far. The whale sharks were practically in an enclosed area surrounded by boats, people and boatmen. This creates stress if you want to swim freely with the whale sharks yet not touch the whale sharks in order not to hurt them. I would strongly suggest using goggles, masks and fins if you would like to dive down into the waters to spend some time with the whale sharks and other sea creatures since the surface has too many people.

As a first timer swimming with the whale sharks, this was an amazing experience but since it is unethical for the boatmen functioning just to constantly feed the whale sharks with plankton in order to keep the sharks at the whale shark point for tourism purposes, I will try to go to Donsol Bay or Derawan Island to swim more freely with the whale sharks in the future.


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