Swimming with whale sharks is a dream of many ocean lovers. Huge slowly and safety animals go as giant barge a few meters from you. It’s like a fairytale, isn’t it? Breathing stops, primal fear and a joy capture your mind.
There are several places in Philippines where you can swim with whale sharks. I’m going to tell about the one on Cebu island, near by Oslob. The place is known as “Oslob Whale Shark Watching“.
I suggest placing it on top of your itinerary since (1) visibility is best in the early morning, between 7 and 9 AM and (2) whale shark interaction is held only until 12:30 PM each day. If you can push it further, head to Oslob on a weekday to avoid the unbelievable weekend crowd. Trust me, you don’t want to be bumping snorkels with other people when you’ve got a humongous fish to watch out for.
WHALE SHARK WATCHING
There is a mandatory orientation conducted by government staffs for about 5 mins regarding what to do and not to do when you encounter the whale sharks. Then, it’s time to proceed to the whale watching area. You will be grouped into 5-6 people per boat.
Oslob Whale Shark Watching is quite different. The attraction reminds enclosure at the zoo. The territory where boats and sharks are located is very small. The maximum depth is 8 meters. And there are a lot of people almost all the time. Boats that brought tourists stay in place. So you have to maneuver between people, boats and sharks, and take care not to inadvertently touch a shark and did not bump into a boat “log-float”.
It was truly an exciting experience. I would do it again.
You need to go to Tan-Awan village, 10 km to the south from Oslob. All drivers know where the place is. So if you get there by public transport or by a taxi, the main thing is to inform a driver or a conductor that your final destination is “Whale sharks”.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST
There are three main options to spend time with whale sharks:
- Watching from the boat. 600 pesos. The cheapest option. You just sitting in the boat and looking around.
- Swimming with sharks. 1,000 pesos. You jump into the water from the boat and then you can do whatever you want – snorkling, diving, making photo and video, looking into huge mouthes, lying on the bottom or hanging on the boat, looking at beatiful ocean animals around. Freediving with whale sharks is also included into this ticket.
- Diving. 1,500 pesos. You simple go down to the bottom and look at silhouettes above. Sharks are almost all the time at the surface, so divers just watching from the bottom, unable to maneuver between huge fishes.
Children under 6 years don’t need a ticket. Prices for Filipinos are significantly lower.
WHAT TO BRING
- Swimsuit. You can wear a lycra shirt as a sunscreen. No need for a wetsuit. You are not get cold for a half an hour of active swimming in 29°C water .
- Mask and snorkel. Otherwise, how to look in the water?
- Fins. I would highly recommend to take fins to improve maneuverability and be able to dive into the water. A depth of 3-4 meters is enough to watch a shark from all sides.
- Camera. What could be better than a photo “Meeting with sea giants”?
- Towel and a swimsuit to change after swimming.