Swimming with Whale Sharks in Holbox

From Tulum, we travelled all the way across to the golf of Mexico for a few days on Holbox Island where we truly found paradise! A small island of 3,000 inhabitants grouped in one main village. The particularity of Holbox is that the common mean of transportation are golf cars. If you need a taxi from the ferry to your hotel, don’t be surprised it to be a white and yellow golf car picking you up.

Most accommodations on the island are rather expensive (but very nice) resorts which is why we were unsure to go to start with. However we did manage to find a more economical bed in a dorm of a hostal via Airbnb (still twice the price of a private room on the continent!). The price was worth the experience on this beautiful Island which also happens to be home to whale sharks during a few month of the year.

Now, I always said I would sever ever swim with sharks… but I got myself convinced that these big fishes were more whales than sharks. The experience is expensive with no much room for negotiation and prices are the same from one agency to another (90euros), but really worth the money.

We took a small boat at 7AM and started sailing around the island and then 60km from shore towards open waters. It took us a while to find the whale shark, but soon enough we spotted its huge shadow underwater. At this point if Adrien was really excited to go in, I admit to have been a little scared. We had to jump from the boat two people at the time with our snorkelling equipments and with the guide. Two by two we were seated on the edge of the boat waiting for the captain to tell us when to jump. Waiting for the right moment was a bit of anticipation, until suddenly we heard “Al Agua! Ja! Ja! Now!”. No time to do much thinking… we jumped!

There is no time to realise that the water is rather fresh, once in the water you find yourself in front of the huge wide open mouth of the whale! The few first seconds, you can almost not move, almost paralysed from the emotion of being in front of this massive monster. Then very quickly you realise you have to move and start swimming on his side for a few meters. Although it is not moving very fast it is hard to keep up with it.

We were all allowed to jump twice and the second time around was much better. A crazy experience swimming along this 16 meters long fish! Unfortunatly no good underwater picture came out…

We sailed back to a reef barrier where we went snorkelling for bit while our captain prepared a delicious fresh ceviche for us which we enjoyed later on an isolated beach of the island before heading back to the village and take a nap to recover from our emotions. Later on we went for a beer on the beach for sunset… Paradise!

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