Mexico/Baja Sur: La Paz – Swimming with Whale Sharks
And the cherry on top of the crazy wildlife-laden Baja trip was swimming with whale sharks in the harbor of La Paz. Similar to my first experience of swimming with whale sharks in Djibouti, it was in very murky waters where the giant fish were filter feeding. Your guide spots the massive fish on the water and then signals you to jump in and swim following it. These giants were moving quite fast, so it required swimming hard just to keep up with them in milky and frigid cold waters. It turned out, you could actually see them better from the boat. Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world (and the largest non mammalian vertebrate), reaching nearly 19m/62ft in length. Whale sharks are filter feeders (can’t bite or chew, although they have about 3000 tiny teeth that help them eat small shrimp and tiny), swimming with wide open mouths and gorging on plankton (that why the waters are so murky and milky). Using their gills, whale sharks can process over 6,000 liters of water every hour. A rare and endangered animal – and it was an amazing experience swimming with them!