On arrival to Hanifaru Bay

On arrival to Hanifaru Bay, Maeva telephoned the rangers who were flying a drone above us, explaining they used the drone to detect the location of marine life. However, that day manta rays had not been observed. We sat and waited. Twenty minutes rolled by as we waited under the baking sun. Suddenly the phone rang and Maeva excitedly told us a whale shark had been spotted rising from the ocean depths. We pulled on our kit and jumped in the crystal-clear water. Maeva grabbed her camera and swam off at high speed, with us in hot pursuit. Once in position, we waited until a dark shadow slowly became visible from the black void below. As the whale shark gradually surfaced goose bumps covered my body and despite being in water the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. Whilst whale sharks can grow up to twelve metres in length this was a juvenile and although only half that size, it still seemed huge as it swam very close. Fortunately, we were in no danger as whale sharks feed on plankton. News travelled quickly and within fifteen minutes our intimate experience with the whale shark was interrupted by the arrival of other tourists.

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