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JASA-Blue Sphere Media-Wetpixel Mexico Whale Sharks


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#1 shawnh

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 03:35 PM

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Whale Shark gulps down eggs

THIS YEAR THE ACTION WAS SIMPLY INCREDIBLE!

Jim Abernethy and I just wrapped up this years series of whale shark aggregation trips off Isla Mujeres, Mexico. As with they prior two years (PRIOR YEAR VIDEOS), this year was a home run with incredible in-water and topside activity and on peak days, several hundred whale sharks gathered in the space of 1 square km. When we first discovered the aggregation, we could never have guessed how it would transform the the tiny island of Isla Mujeres into the world's whale shark mecca. Nowhere else can you swim with such huge numbers of whale sharks, in blue water with such a great degree of certainty.

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Whale Sharks aggregate on surface of calm seas

Our guests hailed from all over the world including Hong Kong, France, Europe, Australia and of course the US, among others. Many guests reported this was one of the best experiences of their lives. This year we also hosted a special WildAid trip that delivered in spades.

This year we had hundreds of whale sharks, manta trains, sailfish, mobula rays, cownose rays, turtles, schools of bonito and even a pod of dolphins charge past...simply incredible.

The whale shark activity was full on, the Island delightful, the hotel and pool a welcome haven after a long day on the water,and the guacamole, cervezas, and gelato unforgettable.

Images:
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Whale Shark feeds behind sargassum

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Mantas and Whale Sharks feeding

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Whale Shark with Manta below

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Sailfish darts through Whale Shark aggregation

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Douglas Seifert shoot Whale Shark silhouette

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Whale Shark train

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Huge Whale Shark feeds on tour boat :B):

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Whale Shark in vertical feeding posture

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Pair of Whale Sharks swim overhead

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Whale Sharks gather to feed

NEXT YEAR WE WILL BE BACK FOR MORE!!!

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#2 Steve Williams

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 07:25 PM

Crazy good Shawn! Must have been a blast. I loving the images with mutiple animals.

Cheers,
Steve

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#3 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 10:34 PM

Looks awesome again!

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#4 adamhanlon

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Posted 25 July 2011 - 10:59 PM

Oh man - I've got to go!

Great images Shawn, thanks for posting!

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#5 loftus

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 03:53 AM

Awesome!!!! Leaving Friday for Isla Mujeres. :B):
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#6 philsokol

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:03 AM

Shawn always seemed to have the luck of being in the water when the non-whale shark guests arrived (in fact, he was rarely out of the water!). Me, I was too busy spinning around trying to not get run over! Having seen maybe 8 whale sharks in my life (2 in Cocos and 6 or so in the Galapagos), it was truly awesome to to be surrounded by these gentle giants. There were many times I just had to stop and stare as they came by singly, in pairs, crossed in front of or even surrounded me.

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Whale sharks feeding at the surface

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The sharks came right up to the boat

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David laughs after being run over. You needed rear view mirrors!

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Silhouette

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Dos Amigos

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A random snorkeler is almost swallowed!


Thanks to Shawn, the crew and all the other participants for an amazing experience!

Phil

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#7 shawnh

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:08 AM

Nice work Phil! Share some of the topside cultural shots you nailed to give a flavor of the town too.
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#8 tonywu

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 02:59 PM

Great stuff guys!
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#9 shawnh

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 10:42 PM

Now ready for humpbacks in blue!
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#10 yahsemtough

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 04:36 AM

Great stuff!

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#11 shawnh

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 09:54 AM

Here are some more fun images:
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WildAid Crew: (L-R) Shawn Heinrichs, Jeanne Sedgewick, Raymond Man, Walter Sedgewick, Sharon Kwok Pong, Richard Branson, Samantha Cox, Mark Koschker, Peter Knights, Keith Addis, Corrie Knights

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Whale Shark eats tourism boat

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Briana Rivera with Whale Shark

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Richard Branson enjoys his first whale shark encounter (video grab)

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Danielle Heinrichs photographs Whale Shark
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#12 shawnh

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Posted 27 July 2011 - 08:58 PM

I call this one the Beacon.

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#13 wagsy

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 12:06 AM

Great Stuff :B):
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#14 adamhanlon

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 04:11 AM

These keep getting better and better!

Thanks for sharing!

Adam

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#15 TN DIVER

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 04:31 AM

Great images and report Shawn as usual! I hope next year to make it there.
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#16 shawnh

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Posted 03 August 2011 - 07:14 AM

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Manta feeding while Whale Shark passes behind

What was very interesting this year was the abundance of manta rays. In prior years we have seen the odd manta or two swim past but not engage in the feeding. We assumed the fish eggs were not on their diet. This year we had many days with mantas obviously feeding. I wonder if this behavior evolution or coincidence.?
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#17 jimabernethy

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:09 AM

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Whale Shark Feeding while Lisa Campana watches
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Whale Shark with Lisa Campana
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Whale Shark in vertical feeding position
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Whale Shark silhouette
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Whale Shark with Lisa Campana
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Whale Shark with Conner Nolan
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#18 meister

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Posted 12 August 2011 - 04:41 AM

:)
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#19 Steve Douglas

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Posted 15 August 2011 - 02:22 PM

Really superior shots Shawn, guess I will need to add this to my list of places to go, let me know next year.
Steve

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