Swimming with Whale Sharks. Most people think of whale watching as being on a boat or on the shore and watching the whales flip their tails of breach along the coast of Los Cabos. While not a whale, there is another experience that is incredible in the region. A short drive to La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur will take you to the Bay of La Paz. Between October and May, a short boat trip into the Bay will give you the opportunity to swim with whale sharks. Large and whale like, these beautiful creatures are are not actually sharks either. They are the largest fish in the world often growing up to 40 feet long and 47,000 pounds and they are endangered. They filter plankton out of the water as their source of nutrition and are often close to the surface. This gives you the opportunity to slip into the water and snorkel beside them for an up-close experience.
We decided to try the experience offered by Baja Whale Sharks in La Paz. This morning Chris and Tracy were picked up at La Comer in San Jose del Cabo by a special van for the trip to La Paz. After picking up other snorkelers in Cabo San Lucas, the van with 16 passengers headed to La Paz. The Catamaran leaves from La Baz Bay for a four and half to five hour cruise with all equipment supplied and catering on board. Waiting on the Catamaran was a light breakfast. After going to the edge of the bay, the snorkelers were loaded onto to two smaller boats to seek out the whale sharks. However, as the number of boats and people are carefully controlled, the boat first had to stop for a port check. All the passengers were given wrist bands and vests to indicate that they were allowed to swim with the whale sharks. When the boat gets close to the spotted fish, four of the eight enter the water and swim near the whale sharks. As it was a little choppy, it takes some strength to get near them and they can move very fast. After about twenty minutes, they re-entered the boat and the next four got into the water. Each group had the opportunity for a second trip to view these amazing fish. The whale sharks were younger as they were only about 20 feet long. The visibility isn't the best as the whale sharks feed on plankton and this can cloud the water a little. However, for Tracey, who had been waiting 18 years to have this experience, she climbed into the boat with tears in her eyes.
After the swim, the small boats returned to the catamaran where a great lunch was served with guacamole and chips, tacos arrachera and a creamy chicken soup. And of course, the required margaritas. On the return trip, the van stops at Hotel California for a brief chance for beverages and shopping at this iconic hotel. For more information on Baja whale shark tours visit https://bajawhaleshark.com/