While many visitors associate Cancun and Playa del Carmen with the winter, there are some great and very unique things to do in the summer, when it’s hot, the water is fresh, the breeze is blowing… I love summer time. Just recently, I remembered that for the hottest months of the year, June-September, it’s the chance to go swimming with the amazing, enormous and fascinating whale sharks.
Being the largest fish in the world, they could have their choice of meals, but they prefer the taste of plankton. These awesome animals cruise the waters off the coast of Cancun for only a few months of the year. July or August is the best time to catch them.
The first time I we went swimming with the whale sharks out of Holbox, Quintana Roo. We decided to take a weekend trip. We drove to Holbox one Saturday afternoon; it’s about 2hrs from Cancun. Then we took the ferry across to the island of Holbox. It’s a small island, still a little primitive in its ways, (there are no cash machines, so take cash). We learned this the hard way and had to drive 30mins back to the nearest atm.
We camped for the night and took the boat ride out into the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden we find ourselves surrounded by these whale sharks. They came right up to the surface to greet us. My mouth dropped open the second I saw them, I was speechless. I hadn’t ever seen any animal so graceful and so very large.
After jumping in the water and seeing these things underwater I was even more amazed. They were the size of a small airplane and they were everywhere. After swimming with them for a bit we got out to let some other people have a go. You see, each boat has 6-8 people, so you jump in the water 2 at a time. Once everyone had had their chance, we were eager to get back in the water again with these giant but docile creatures.
After a few hours observing, we were given a packed lunch and it was time to head back to land. On the boat ride back we were accompanied by a group of dolphins that were having fun diving in and out of the water along side the boat. We also saw a manta ray jump out of the water, flip and slam back into the water again. I’ll never forget that sight. It was huge, well not as big as the whale sharks, but big for a manta ray.
On Monday, I’ll share another story about whale sharks.
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