Swimming or diving with whale sharks is a great experience, and – in most places, with good operators – it’s a positive force for conservation, too. If you’d like to have a more informative (and fun) experience than is usually available to the public, you should join me on one of my research trips! It’ll be even more amazing… er.
What’s the difference between these trips and a regular dive holiday? Well, these are journeys with a purpose. I’m trying to hit the best sites at the best possible times so we can maximise our (and your) chances of seeing plenty of sharks. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about whale sharks, research, and underwater photography too. There’ll be some science presentations during the trip, but lots of opportunities for chatting as well.
Basically, if you’re keen on whale sharks, you’ll absolutely love these trips.
Mafia Island is a brilliant spot to see whale sharks and hosts the world’s most biodiverse reefs outside SE Asia. We’ll be snorkelling with whale sharks, getting some great dives in East Africa’s first Marine Protected Area (brilliant macro photography, although this trip is fine for non-divers too), and generally having a thoroughly good time.
Mafia is one of the highlights of my year, every year, and it is still reasonably “undiscovered”. Lucky for us. That being said, we worked with National Geographic to produce a whale shark story at Mafia last year, and I’ve expanded on that information in a blog post here on the site: Why The World’s Biggest Sharks Love Mafia Island, Tanzania.
Chris Rohner put together a video from our 2016 Aqua-Firma trip:
And here’s some more drone footage by Steve de Neef from our 2016 field season:
Mafia is one of my favourite places. I hope you can join us there. The full trip itinerary and price is available here.
Komodo National Park, Indonesia (June 2019 & 2020)
Northwest Madagascar is our newest whale shark research site, and it’s a good one! Our team identified 88 whale sharks off the island of Nosy Be during whale shark season last year, and I can’t wait to go back.
We’ll be staying on a small, beautiful island called Nosy Sakatia, where there are wild lemurs, chameleons and day geckos roaming through the property, and heading to sea to find whale sharks, the rarely-seen Omura’s whale, humpback whales, mobula rays, and if we’re lucky some oceanic mantas.
There are optional “fluoro” dives on a couple of evenings too, which are absolutely spectacular.
Hope you can join us next year. The full trip itinerary and price is available here, and you can read more about our research work in Madagascar on the blog: Madagascar: Whale Sharks in the Land of Lemurs.
The Galapagos islands are, at least in my opinion, the world’s best dive destination. Darwin and Wolf islands, in the far north of the archipelago, host the world’s highest reef fish biomass – and it’s almost all sharks. Sharks sharks sharks. So many freaking sharks.
We’ll be there in the middle of whale shark season, when gigantic female sharks travel past the northern islands and, of course, we’ll be visiting amazing sites around the other regions as well.
I wrote up an article about our 2016 Galapagos whale shark research work here on the blog: Tagging Amazingly Huge Whale Sharks in the Galapagos Islands. I’ve also published some of my favourite photos from this jaw-droppingly amazing World Heritage Area: Galapagos Underwater: My Favourite Photos.
Hope you can join us for a trip sometime soon!