Thursday, July 28, 2011

27/07/11 They're here!

Monday blues certainly are a thing of the past these days. Our early start to the week with my first Plankton Pull began with choppy seas and a grey outlook- predicting bad timings for each individual pull and a poor place on the board. For Gerry in particular, who’s birthday it was, the pressure was on. Early that morning, not long after 9:30am all concentration on the task in hand and plankton pull thoughts were forgotten. About 50 feet away straight ahead was a whale shark. After a second or two of disbelief from us all in the boat we soon started to scramble for our fins, masks and cameras. Excitedly exclaiming a “Happy Birthday!” to Gerry again as if this was some divine gift we awaited our cue from skipper Ro for when to jump in.
The shark seemed oblivious to our boat as it circled and swam underneath us and away from the stern. The glimpses of its fin made me more and more eager, until finally it was time. Thoughts of my snorkel beneath my bed back at camp were momentary as we all rolled back off the boat and into the sea. Quickly we swam over to the whale shark. Its clear distinctive markings were beautiful, and at only 4 metres was a baby. Between mouthfuls of seawater (now I wished I had my snorkel!) I followed the shark for as long as I could keep up.
After about five minutes the shark slowly began to descend into the deep. Luckily, Joe managed to take some ID photographs of the shark which have since been sent off to the MCSS to hopefully ascertain its sex. As we all slowly made our way back onto the boat we remained alert to any further sightings and eventually got back to the Plankton Pull for the day. What a great start to the week and to an early whale shark season. Hopefully there are plenty more to come!