17/18 Moo 1, Koh Tao Suratthani, 84360 Thailand         Info @ Big Blue Conservation        +66 (0) 077 456 179

Big Blue Conservation - Another Day - Another Whaleshark!

Here on Koh Tao we are lucky having the chance to dive with whale sharks every other day. Only about 1% of the Earth’s population has ever seen a whale shark, let alone been diving with one! A whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the biggest shark AND the biggest fish on the planet. It’s not a whale, even though the name might fool you! They are easily identified with their light colored dots on darker skin and a constant massive grin. Its mouth can be up to 2 meters across, has about 8,000 tiny teeth and still they only feed on plankton and the occasional small fish. Whale sharks are filter feeders and for every pound the whale shark weighs it needs 20 pounds of plankton to fill up! Even though their skin is really thick (up to 17 cm) they don’t like to be touched and here at Big Blue we go by the Divers Etiquette Whale Shark Code and always leave at least 3-4 meters between us divers and the whale shark. There is still a lot we don’t know about these beautiful creatures and it is especially hard trying to define their maximum size, age and weight! Stories have been told about 21 meter long giants but the largest verified whale shark was caught in Pakistan in 1947. That whale shark was 12.65 meters and weighed over 15 tons!

Whale sharks are known to be solitary creatures but in 2009 of the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico over 420 whale sharks were sighted at the same time. Sadly, whale sharks are still kept in aquariums all over the world. What scientists do know is that these animals like their space. Still, four whale sharks are being kept in one tank that is 10 meters deep, 35 meters wide and 27 meters long and holds the equivalent of 3 Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of water which makes it a big tank but no way near big enough… Luckily most of us prefer them in the wild, where they belong! If you haven’t seen one yet – well, sign up to go diving with the best dive master & instructor team on Koh Tao, next whale shark could be seen tomorrow so don’t miss out!