By Natalie Novak
Normally I write dive stories, but some friends came to visit and had the chance to see something amazing underwater that I want to share this month. I was given Rachel’s email by a friend and was told that she planned on coming to Akumal. When we started to email I discovered that Rachel and her (then ) fiancé John were coming to Akumal for their honeymoon, which was to follow their “small” wedding of well over 200 people. Needless to say, they did not have much time to plan their 5 day honeymoon. I suggested they take a day trip to see the whale sharks by Holbox and Contoy. There are two ways to do this. Their other option was to drive 4 hours north and then take a ferry, spend the night on Holbox take a boat early in the morning to see the whale sharks, then return to their hotel pack, take the ferry back and drive back to Akumal.
On their 2nd day in Akumal, Rachel and John got up early, and met their van at 6 a.m. They slept in the van as it took them north of Cancun. At 8 a.m. They had coffee and sweet bread and boarded their boat. The boat took them inside the reef north of Isla Mujeres. Within an hour of their departure they saw their first whale shark. It was the size of a school bus. In pairs they joined a guide in the water and snorkeled along side these gentle giants as they fed. Whale sharks have no teeth. They feed on krill which is tiny microscopic animals that they sift out of the water. At one point there were 3 or 4 whale sharks around them feeding at one time. Check out Rachel and John’s pictures!
After the whale sharks, they snorkeled on an ocean reef, watched frigates and flamingos, then had lunch on Isla Mujeres before returning to the dock and being driven back to Akumal.
Whale sharks feed north of Akumal close to Holbox and from June to August there are guided day trips available. Diving with them is prohibited as the bubbles may disturb their feeding, but snorkeling with them is allowed with licensed and trained guides.
Tip: When your boat is searching for the whale sharks, keep an eye on the water. Often as we search for the whale sharks you can see green turtles, golden eagle rays and manta rays.
Dive with Natalie and Ivan.