Day 4 of the 2017 Wetpixel Whale Sharks expedition delivered a salutary reminder of 2 things. Firstly, never assume anything when photographing wildlife.
Day 3 gave us amazing numbers of sharks and it was perhaps natural to assume that day 4 would do likewise. Well, this was not what happened.
We set out early as usual and stared searching around the area in which the sharks were hanging out yesterday.
Despite the large numbers in evidence yesterday, today brought only a relatively few animals. This is not the same as no sharks though, with us seeing around 25 during the day-which brings me on to the second point…25 Whale sharks in one day is pretty amazing too!
Once we got in the water, it was obvious why there were less sharks. They are primarily here to feed on the bonito (Sarda sarda) eggs in the water and there was much less of these in the water. The trade off with this is that the visibility has improved.
Of course, given how abundant they are here, it is easy to get complacent about how special it is to see large numbers of these amazing animals.
The difference is perhaps that when the sharks are in very large numbers, the approach is to pretty much to wait and let the sharks come to you.
When they are scarcer, the trick is to keep a sharp look out and when you see one approaching, to swim perpendicular and to try to intercept them as they come towards you. This means that you have to work much harder for your shots! I’m pleased to report that everyone adapted their shooting style and got some amazing images.
So, all in all, seeing and photographing 25 whale sharks in a day is a phenomenal experience.