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Diving with Whalesharks
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Reneeandjohn wrote a review Aug 2019
Maitland, Australia285 contributions144 helpful votes
I spent 18 months planning my trip from Australia to Placencia Belize just to go diving with the whale sharks. I planned my trip to coincide with the full moon in May. Whale sharks are April, May, June with May being the best. HUH! There were only a few seen in 2018 and I believe only 1 seen in 2019 in June (but not seen by divers as far too deep for that) after taking to locals I find out they are not coming any more. They suggest it is because the red snapper are being fished out and too many boats crowding them when they did come. The whale sharks follow the spawning of the red snapper. No snapper = no sharks. Many of the people I spoke to said the tour operators offering trips should be stopped. Advertising whale sharks should be stopped. It is giving the area a bad reputation. The whale sharks are no longer coming and tourists like myself were just being ripped off. We were told that fishermen see the odd one at night, and in the day a few are around, but they are very deep. Gladden Split is a marine reserve, so why are fishing boats there at night?? I only found this out after my dives. After paying $330 US a day and seeing nothing but blue water I am disappointed to say the least. The boats have no real indication of were the sharks are They just take you out into the ocean and drop you off in blue water and you just swim around in hope one will turn up. What a joke. On the dives I did during the surface interval what were the crew doing?? Fishing the red snapper??? The other dives I did were good, but nothing I haven’t seen before. Nurse sharks were good, but if like me you are planning you trip around whale sharks don’t bother.
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Date of experience: May 2019
7 Helpful votes
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familyofsix78 wrote a review May 2019
Vernon, Canada46 contributions22 helpful votes
i was in the snorkeling group, but it really is true of both snorkelers and divers on the best possible day, in relatively small swells ( yes swells, this is an open water snorkle) it was clear that the chances of actually seeing a whale shark is well less than 10%, none had been seen by anyone on a specific snorkle/dive trip in the past 16 days by the company i went with. one guide suggested it was because of the divers, most countrys only allow snorkeling,no divers, but i think it is more likely all the boats, 6 boats in a small area trading off after an hour then moving back in makes for a whole added danger with snorkelers and scuba in the waves, near misses about, better swim well, people see whale sharks, usually on fishing trips and randomly, which feeds the interest, these trips are a fair amount of money but really also just a fair amount of disappointment when the chances are so low---really for that kind of energy, nausea, swimming effort and the fact that if they are not there all you see is blue . it is just not worth it and would only be worth it for at least a 50% chance or if you are up for it a 30% chance, it is no where near there, less than 10% depth of the whale shark seeing apparently varies by month II really do not recommend this
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Date of experience: May 2019
2 Helpful votes
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q1964 wrote a review May 2016
South Bend, Indiana378 contributions119 helpful votes
Upon getting back on the boat, another diver said it best... "I've been diving all over the world and have never been under the water anywhere for 45 minutes and seen NOTHING". I know the dive shops can't control what whale sharks do (or don't do) but they could temper the hype about seeing them. It seems to be a "wink wink" type thing among the guides, "today is the day because the moon is....". When that fails, "tomorrow will be the MOST likely day to see them because...". It never ends. After talking to local fisherman and actually spending days with them, they say they DO see them. But the never know when or where. Maybe fishing and look down and there is one just below the surface. That happened to our fishing guide last October. Not the "right" time to see them, but it was there. Take a reef dive or snorkel and save all the expense on two boring dives. Who knows, you might see a whale shark!
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Date of experience: April 2016
1 Helpful vote
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BelizeBelievers wrote a review May 2014
Xenia, Ohio151 contributions40 helpful votes
Diving with Whale Sahrks means exactly that - DIVING. There were 5 diver's in our group and 19 snorkelers. The diver's would go down about 70 feet and their air bubbles would simulate snapper spawning and this was supposed to bring up the whale sharks from the deep. And it did - to about 100 feet. All of the diver's in our group got to see whale sharks. NONE of the snorkeler's saw anything because they were too deep. So, Diver's probably have a better than 90% chance of seeing a whale shark while snorkelers probably have less than a 10% chance. And the cost is the same - whether you see anything or not. Glad we did it - won't do it again.
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Date of experience: April 2014
2 Helpful votes
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GordonK wrote a review May 2013
Belize City, Belize34 contributions27 helpful votes
Looking for Whalesharks at Gladden Split off Placencia in southern Belize is a very hit and miss affair this year. I have been diving for Whalesharks on 8 days in the last three years, and I have seen them once (in 2012). Early on I didn't know the best time to go - but after studies by the Southern Environmental Alliance in Placencia it is now clear to me that the best time to see them in 2012 was 3-5 days after the full moon in April and May. I applied the same logic this year and I have been twice so far (on 1st and 29th April) both on the 4th day after the full moon and I have seen none so far. In fact no Whalesharks have been seen in Placencia this year so far. The problem with a Whaleshark dive when no Whalesharks are seen, is that the dive can be boring. In early April the dive was fun as we still saw large schools of fish and several types of sharks, but at the end of April after the next full moon, the dive was boring as it is in the Blue and we saw very little. In hindsight a reef dive would have been much better option that day. But I guess if you don't get out there you will never see one. The dive centres in Placencia cannot control whether there are Whalesharks to see or not (that is up to God and Mother Nature). I dive with Splash dive centre which is really well run, with good equipment and boats. To avoid complete disappointment, I recommend that divers plan a mix of reef and Whaleshark dives as we did. Despite my last of success in seeing Whalesharks so far this year, I am going diving for Whalesharks again in late May (on the 4th day after the full moon too to give myself the best chance of seeing them). There are reports that theyare being seen now.
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Date of experience: April 2013
1 Helpful vote
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