Trip report: Wetpixel Whale Sharks 2017

Sunday was Wetpixel second group’s first day out with the sharks, so we started a little later.The team gathered in the breakfast room at 7:15 and after a brief welcome and briefing, we set out on the golf carts for the jetty.

There were a lot of sharks! And a lot of boats…

Once again, the Park Patrol was in evidence, and I think it is true to say that the new regulations have in general improved the way that the operators move around and generally interact with the sharks. One new development is that a permit is now required in order to fly a drone. Anecdotally, it seems that these permits are hard to come by, so if you are planning to bring one, it will be wise to begin the process early

It seems that the eggs that the sharks are feeding on have quite localised distribution. This means that they often move in parallel feeding passes, and turn in similar positions at the end of each pass. This makes for some interesting photographic compositions.

I counted around 120 sharks, all busy feeding.

I have recently read an alternate explanation for the vertical feeding behaviour (or botella) depicted below. My original though was that it occurred when the shark encounters a particularly dense patch of food, stops forward movement and its tail hence sinks.

The alternate idea is that it actually happens when the shark is finding little food. Ram feeding (or using forward motion to gather and filter food) requires more energy than suction feeding (opening and closing the mouth to suck food in). When there is little food, this theory suggests that it is more efficient to stop and use suction feeding rather than ram.

More sharks tomorrow….please!

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