Snorkelling with whale sharks – Ningaloo, WA

None of the photos used in this post were taken by me, they were all taken by the super talented Tara Prenzlau at Ocean Collective Media. You can check out her Instagram page here and more on Ocean Collective Media here.

This was one of the main reasons I was so keen to head to WA. I’d read about the whale shark dive well before we even booked the flights and as soon as I realised we were going to be along the west coast for the peak season I was on a mission to see a whale shark up close and in the flesh. They seriously didn’t disappoint and it was one of the best experiences of my life, (even though Dan stayed in the boat all day I think he had a pretty sweet time too).

We booked the trip with Ningaloo Reef Dive and Snorkel at Coral Bay, the team there are so awesome and the whole day was so smooth (and filled with food, bonus). After having two trips cancelled due to weather we headed out on a sun filled and amazingly calm day. Before jumping into our wet suits we had a good hour on the front of the boat watching the humpback whales swimming close to the boat, breaching and playing close by. We also got to watch a large turtle bobbing next to us as we followed the coast further north.

As the spotter plane took over trying to find whale sharks nearby, we suited up and had a warm up snorkel along the reef. There was so much life down there, more than I’ve ever seen or snorkelled alongside before. There were so many varieties of coral with a highway of fish swimming through, including colourful parrot-fish.

We were also super lucky and Tara spotted a small, wild seahorse with its tail wrapped around some seaweed. Even as an underwater photographer and marine biologist she said she’d only ever seen three in the wild.

Then we were full speed, following the plane and ready to see something a tad bigger. We managed to dive with three different whale sharks and the photos speak for themselves. The ones we saw were between (approx.) 3m – 8m but they can grow up to 14m long.

I can’t really put into words how incredible these animals were in the wild, being able to swim alongside them was mind-blowing. Whilst they look like they’re swimming relatively slow, because of their size you really had to haul ass to keep up. We were told that they’re being subject to the plastic pollution crisis in our oceans. Ocean Collective also have a brand of clothing called ‘Protect What You Love’, where 10% of all sales go towards shark research. You can check them out here.

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