While travelling along its migration route, a whale shark accidentally gets caught in a fisherman’s trap. Out of curiosity for the biggest fish in the sea, the shark is caged in a set net for tourists. Near Okinawa in Japan, fisherman and dive centers work together on whale shark tourism . Tour guides bring tourists under water to swim with the whale shark in the set net. Everyday tourists come and go while the whale shark keeps waiting in the net, until one day another shark gets caught to take its place. It is an endless relay race. When can whale sharks be totally free in a sea without barriers?
Everyday at 6am, fishermen in Tan-awan and whale sharks have a breakfast date. Fishermen roll out to the sea with “uyap” (small or brine shrimps), one of whale sharks’ favorite foods. Whale sharks always arrive on time. Fishermen use uyap to attract whale sharks for tourists, who watch them opening their big mouths eating uyap.
Tan-awan was an ordinary small village before whale shark tours began. In times past, whale sharks were a big trouble for fishermen since they often follow schools of fish, which disturbed the fishermen’s work. In order to drive out whale sharks, fishermen created the method of feeding uyap. Nowadays whale sharks have become the biggest money-spinner. It’s almost certain to meet a whale shark here, but people only see a tame pet rather than a wild animal.
The spotter standing at the top of the mast has his full attention on the search for whale sharks. When blue-grey fins emerge from the sea, the BIO tour guide will instruct tourists to jump into the water and fulfill their dream of swimming with whale sharks.
Donsol, Philippines, is famous for its whale shark tour. Between every February and May, whale sharks migrate to the water near Donsol. It is not difficult to see them. You only need to snorkel into whale shark territory. Each time you board the boat and jump into the water, you can hope to meet them. When a whale shark appears and gets closer, you’ll feel its gentle greeting; a most precious and touching moment.
Every year, when the rain season comes, red crabs on Christmas Island start to become restless and begin a mass exodus. Thousands of red crabs swarm out and migrate to the coast in order to mate and spawn. When red crabs release their eggs into the ocean, whale sharks come from afar to enjoy the annual feast. People get a chance to dive into the sea to meet whale sharks. Where and when will they show up? It all depends on luck, which people might find adds to the surprise and delight.