Sunday, 24 Jan 2021
The world’s biggest fish, the gentle and curious whale shark tops many divers’ bucket list and is a boon for the local diving industry during the summer months. The migratory fish are on International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) endangered list.

Whale sharks a boon to diving centres throughout season

Typically, the season when whale sharks are noticed in Omani waters is from July to September, but at times sightings are produced as early as June, according to Ahmed al Baloushi, diving instructor at Oxygen Diving and Adventure. “Whale sharks are often found in the waters around Damaniyat Islands, Fahal Island and Bandar Khairan. Oman is a well-known destination for whale shark spotting. Last year, we sighted a group of ten whale sharks in one location,” Baloushi mentioned.

Euro–Divers Oman is seeing an escalating quantity of divers coming from neighbouring nations throughout public holidays. “While we get a lot of whale shark-related queries from customers, our policy is not to create overexpectation by guaranteeing sightings. In some countries, whale sharks are fed regularly in order to guarantee sightings, but thankfully this is not the practice in Oman,” mentioned Barbara Alessi, diving instructor at Euro–Divers Oman.

But there are other operators that take guests out to sea who assure sightings at this time of year. “A spotter is sent early in order to locate the whale sharks,” an additional operator mentioned.
Keith Holt, owner of Global Scuba, informed that normally the most sightings are in between July and August. “We see less of them now as the water temperature begins to cool. Whale sharks mate in late April off the coast of Djibouti before following the currents to the Gulf of Oman.”

How to strategy a whale shark

Keep noise to a minimum: Enter the water by sliding in gradually from the boat feet-initial (do not jump). Keep your fins below the surface of the water although you are kicking to minimize splash.
Look but do not touch: If whale sharks are touched, they will usually dive instantaneously. That spoils the encounter for everybody else and stresses the shark.

Keep your distance: Stay at least 3m away from the head and 4m from the tail. If a whale shark comes straight towards you, just stay calm and split into two groups so that the shark can swim in between you.

Snorkel calmly and gradually: Do not chase whale sharks or block their path. Approach the whale shark from the side and for the very best view, swim alongside the shark close to its pectoral fins. If a shark banks (rolls more than and presents its back), back away and cease free of charge diving or duck-diving. It’s crucial not to restrict their all-natural behaviour and movements. Let the shark manage the encounter.

Photographs: Avoid excessive flash photography when photographing whale sharks. Do not point your flash straight into their eyes.
Source: Padi.com

Information Source: Muscat Daily

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