Chris as Jonah

At the RV park, I saw a poster advertising a swimming with whale sharks tour. (Whale sharks are completely docile.) I looked up the company in Facebook and read good reviews about Anna Cabo and her Whale Shark VIP Tours. So I emailed her and through a series of emails and phone calls, made plans to go out on Monday afternoon at 2 after our Spanish class.

Met the other two people from Brisbane Australia also staying at the RV park who were going to share my boat trip. Anna arrived promptly at 2 and we walked to the dock where another boatload of swimmers/snorkelers had just offloaded.

Anna introduced us to Jahaziel, the dive master, and Captain Eddy. The boat was about 15’ long and reminded me of the Boston Whalers in Hawaii and had a canopy over the center of the boat.

We left the dock and the water immediately became choppy because upon leaving the La Paz Bay, there is a cross current as you go into the second Bay, El Mogote. The swells were 4’ high and my hat, shoes, bag, shirt, pants and sunglasses were wet before we ever stopped and got into the water from the spray as we crossed over the swells.

It took approximately 15 minutes to get to a likely spot, then stopped and started scouting for the fish. Took about 15 minutes but finally the Captain spotted one and headed over to the area. The Captain lined up the boat and Jahaziel handed out fins and masks.

He had us lined up on the lip of the boat’s back half when a swell came in and knocked me over backwards right back into the boat and right onto my head. Tight quarters with other couple also on side of boat, my fins are up in the air and I couldn’t get turned around feeling very much like a fish out of water floundering. Finally upright and Aussie couple got into water and started swimming towards the fish.

I plopped in and a big 6’ swell came through and I immediately panicked, surfaced and swam right back to the boat. They helped me back into the boat and asked if I had ever snorkeled before. I said “years ago.” By that time, the fish had already gone so Aussie couple got back in boat.

Quickly spotted another whale shark and Jahaziel offered to hold my hand if I wanted to give it another try. So everybody went overboard and I followed holding tightly to his hand. Swam for awhile with head above water and then he said “put your head under water”. I did and he pulled me towards the whale shark.Underwater it looked about 4’ in length and I thought was only 3’ away. But later discovered when I saw it above water, the whale shark was about 12’-14’ long and was 10’ away. Rows of spots all along side, perpetual grin on wide mouth and remoura fish swimming alongside and underneath the whale shark.

Fish swam away. Everybody back in boat. Soon spotted another and Aussie couple back in water but by the time I was ready, fish had already dove. Everyone back in the boat.

Spotted another and this time everybody was back in the water in time and with Jahaziel holding my hand, I got to swim alongside for about 60’. Since the fish swims much faster than a human can, quickly out-swam us four again.

Back in boat and then spotted a fifth whale shark. This time only the couple and Jahaziel got in and I didn’t get into water while Jahaziel was photographing the whale shark.

Back in boat and then spotted a pair of whale sharks feeding almost in the upright position. Somewhat rare to see actually feeding and that there was a pair was highly unusual. Everybody back in the water with Jahaziel still holding my hand. This time swam with this one for about 10 minutes. Kept looking for second one but didn’t see it again.

Back in boat and everybody was tired so back to Marina by 5:00 for an afternoon well spent and a new adventure to add to the books.

14 thoughts on “Chris as Jonah”

  1. So it was Chris who was brave enough to swim with sharks!! ( and swells) Good for you… I’ve been there…having purchased a dive trip in Hawaii…and the swells buffeting us so much we couldn’t pay attention to the fish…Sounds like you persisted tho Chris and got to see a lot. Did Dave go along to get the pictures? Very interesting animal!!! Does Dave have underwater photo capability…or who took these?

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    1. Erika,

      Chris went without me because I can get seasick in a bathtub. The photos were taken by a company employee with a housed GoPro. I edited them to make them blog-ready.

      Dave

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      1. I can’t believe you got back to me so fast!!! I’m sitting here in my house in Pacifica and chatting away with you in La Paz Mexico…real time.. the joys of the Internet!! I AM having a bit of trouble with the website…seems very confusing to me…but I persist and just keep clicking on buttons… and it seems to be getting through. If you get doubles of msgs, etc. it’s because I’m not understanding the communication site. I am so looking forward to following your trip! I fully understand Chris’ water experience as I’ve done a bit of snorkeling myself…mostly in Hawaii, Bermuda, and CA…mostly manta rays and little sharks..never did the porpoise thing. Those fish today look enormous. Thank you for setting this up so that we can tag along. Erika

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      2. Erika,

        We’re hanging out at the RV park. During the middle of the day the sun is wicked hot. The air temperature is only in the 80’s, but out in the sun it feels like standing under a large broiler. (Nobody with any sense, and that includes all the Mexicans, sunbathes here.) We’re just a degree or so north of the Tropic of Cancer.

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      3. Erika,

        The reference to sunbathing was used to illustrate the point I was trying to make about the strength of the sun at this latitude.

        Dave

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      4. Erika,

        Despacio. I thought the escuela, because it is small and teaches adults, would have innovative teaching methods. Instead I found myself back in first day of first year Latin conjugating verbs – all kinds of verb forms. Fully 70% of class time was spent that way.

        We have a pretty good book/CD combination on conversational Spanish that will make more sense now that we have the basics of verbs under our belts.

        Dave

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      5. Re: Spanish language.. Yes, I didn’t like the grammar studies much either! LOL…but every little bit helps. Since you have the time to luxuriate in the environment over the lengthy time you will be in Spanish speaking countries, perhaps you should think about taking a weeks course several more times in different towns and settings. (you could ask first if they start out with verbs, and eschew those places…LOL ) I envy you your time to just enjoy….
        Erika

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  2. Yay! So glad the nice boat guy helped you see the shark! Reminds me of a snorkeling tour in Hawaii where they had a special window-box viewer and they held Harvey in the water so he could see the fish.

    Steve also did a whale shark swim in Baja. He said the water was murkey but he saw their spots.

    Sent from my iPhone

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