Swimming next to the biggest fish in the world!
Written by: Alex G.S.
Dive instructor, nature lover, & environmental enthusiast.
In life, there are moments that take our breath away, moments when we are truly humbled and amazed by the world’s beauty, moments that give us time to stop worrying and allow us to appreciate what’s right in front of our eyes. Everywhere in the world has something special that gives us a chance to unlock breathless moments and experience true tranquility, wherever we may be.
Here in Mexico, specifically in the Riviera Maya, we are gifted with the ability to take a glimpse into the underwater world. From diving on some of the world’s most famous coral reefs to snorkeling with turtles in crystal clear water, the Riviera Maya is a paradise for those wishing to explore the ocean.
During my time living in the Riviera Maya, I have been lucky enough to dive with spotted eagle rays, various sharks (black tips, nurse, and bull sharks), gigantic moray eels and huge schools of fish. That being said, nothing has amazed me more than the time I came face-to-face with a whale shark.
Traveling north of the Yucatan Peninsula off the coast of Isla Contoy is where you can find the beautiful whale sharks. Every summer we are lucky enough to receive a visit from the whale sharks, who come to feed on the rich plankton found in the warm Caribbean Sea. The whale shark is one of the oceans’ gentlest creatures and is considered to be the largest fish in the world. Ranging from 18 – 40 ft. in size, this gentle giant is truly one of the most amazing animals on the planet.
I’m not going to lie to you when the captain told me to jump into the water next to the whale shark even I as an experienced diver was pretty nervous, I didn’t know what to expect. I waited in the water shaking with excitement, snorkel, mask, and fins on, ready to go. When I saw the whale shark swimming towards me I was in complete awe, the magnificent whale shark was within my arms reach. Its sheer size and speed is unparalleled to any animal I have ever seen. As I started to swim beside the whale shark I realized its how fast it was, like a bullet underwater. Eventually, I was left trailing the great fish, watching its tail move back and forth as it continued on its journey through the sea.
Swimming with the whale sharks is an unforgettable experience. It is hard to describe the feeling you have afterward, it makes you appreciate the power of nature and the beauty of the planet. For me, swimming with the whale sharks was one of the best experiences of my life and I promise if you visit the whale sharks with us here in the Riviera Maya, it will be a moment you never forget.
For more info on how to have your own whale shark experience visit: