Featured Author: Jessica Fenton
It’s dawn, and the sun is finally blessing me with its presence. After traveling one hour in a small wooden boat off the coast of Isla Mujers, Mexico, where the ocean floor can be found fifty meters deep, I jumped into the dark waters to find the most magical and angelic creatures- whale sharks. It’s hard to believe that I had the opportunity to swim in the Caribbean Sea with wild whale sharks. Below the choppy dark blue surface, I could see the massive graceful creatures, twenty five feet in length and five feet wide; they were a sight to see.
After jumping off the side of the boat in the middle of a school of whale sharks, with my snorkel gear in tow, I swam my heart out to find myself swimming alongside a beautiful whale shark. So close I could almost touch it, if only I could reach out and find my hand meeting its starry skin. Its huge body couldn’t fit in my line of vision; it was as if for a moment, time stopped as we gazed into each other’s soul. It was a miracle. Not like anything else I have ever experienced.
I swam with three of them throughout the morning on four different occasions. Although whale sharks are known to be slow-moving, it was a workout to keep up with them as they were moving merrily on their way enjoying their fill of plankton for breakfast. At any
moment, one would switch directions, which is exhilarating being so close to them. I remember vividly twirling in the water, while my heart was beating out of my chest, nearly being swatted by a tail fin larger than the length of my body. I rushed to the water’s surface to see the entire tour group laughing at me on the boat from a distance.
I drove back down into the warm ocean to see one swimming straight towards me with its large mouth wide open like a big entrance to a cave. While I waited for my heart rate to level, I was frozen there, gazing almost entrancingly at the most beautiful beast I have ever seen. I felt like a speck of sand floating in the sea in front of the enormous fish. Just when I thought it was going to swim right into me, it gracefully changed directions. I floated there watching its gigantic body quietly disappear.
I looked all around me, and as quickly as they had come, they had vanished. Swimming with colossal whale sharks is one of my favourite travel experiences and something I will never forget. It’s a story worth telling. When I think back to my experience, the palms of my hands sweat with anticipation, thinking about what my next thrilling yet frightening experience will be.