The 2015 whale shark season is not yet over, but I have returned from 2 great weeks with my guests and their whale shark experience. We had great weather (one of the reasons I choose July) and whale shark encounters each day including several days with manta rays.
Our first few days the whale sharks were feeding just under the water. Over the next few days they were again feeding on the surface and easy to spot from in the water. This also facilitated some great topside images. The water color and clarity was variable as we tried different areas hoping to find mantas and whale sharks feeding on the surface. On occasion it was more blue-green and on other days we had crystal clear blue water.
Being in the water with whale sharks teaches you much about their life and role in the environment. One afternoon we witnessed schools of tevelli fish swimming close to the whale sharks; by their fins and mouths and even cowering underneath. The reason because clear when I heard dolphin squeaks underwater. A pod of 4 small but fast Atlantic spotted dolphin charged up to me, did 2 complete circles around me then raced on to confront the whale sharks. I saw a few fish meet their demise.
The giant mantas are my favorite to photograph. We would see the tell tale signs in the form of wingtips above the surface. When we dove in they were coming from all directions feeding at about 1.5m below the surface. Some had formed a convoy of 4 to 5 individuals all slowly flapping and scooping in food. A few times I was present to photograph their looping up and down feeding.
Each manta has a unique pattern on the underbelly. I donate all images I can get of these identification markers to the Manta Trust so they might add to their Caribbean database. It would be wonderful if some images from this season match individuals from last season.
Each day we left the dock in the morning and then returned in the mid afternoon around 3 or 4pm. While on boat we had comfortable space, shade, sandwiches and snacks. We could enjoy ourselves while the captain and crew placed us in the best areas for whale sharks and mantas. All boat cooperate to take care of the wildlife by limiting numbers of boats and people in the water around each group of whale sharks. At the conclusion of our swimming each day we enjoyed freshly ceviche specially prepared by the first mate before embarking back to Isla Mujeres.
When not on the boat we had comfortable hotel rooms with plenty of public spaces for relaxing and connecting with wifi. Restaurants are plentiful and very good and most are very affordable. We had many very excellent meals and the shopping was fun and diverse.
At the opposite end of the island is a part to explore and take in the rough coastline.
I will be hosting Whale Shark Trips again next year. I have again secured great boats and crew and rooms at the Playa Media Luna. Our boats are limited to 6 guests so space is limited