Ring! Ring! Ring! The 5:15 AM alarm went off for our wake up call to see the whalesharks. This was the day I had been anxiously awaiting for the past six months. My students and I had been researching the giant creatures for weeks in preparation. We made sure they weren’t going to eat me.
Get there early was what everyone had told me and be the first in line. It opens at 6 AM. We arrived at 6:15, and although it was busy, there wasn’t a wait.
We stayed in Oslob at a cute, little place that arranged for us to be transported back and forth for 300 Pesos. It was about 15 minutes from where we stayed. Our driver, Papa, took good care of us and waited for us the whole time. When we arrived at the site, we were briefed on the whale sharks and the safety rules. Next, we went to the pay booth and paid 1000 pesos per person. Then, we got our life jackets and snorkel. Finally they put us on a boat with eight other people and we took the short five minute boat ride to see the big fish.
Once you are at your spot, you are free to take off your life jacket and swim. You have exactly 30 minutes before you have to get back into the boat. It was such a neat experience to swim with these giant whalesharks. I thought I was going to be scared, but I wasn’t at all. I wanted to stay longer and do it again.
After the whale sharks you can take a private boat for 1500 Pesos per boat to Sumilon Island. It is a very, small island with a sandbar and crystal clear water. We spent 2 hours swimming around, snorkeling and eating our pb n j. There is no food on the island, so glad we were prepared. Our boat drivers were just as kind as all of the others we’ve encountered. I love all the kindness here ❤️