I had the pleasure of having two different swimming experiences with the whale sharks last year. The first time I went with a dear friend and our kids for a 2-day excursion from Los Cabos to the beautiful city of La Paz. We were told about the Cortez Club in the La Concha Hotel and their whale shark tour. For a mere $55 USD per adult, we were up for a tour that our kids would never forget. Their operations are simple and old school but I do have to say that they were so professional and made our experience fantastic.
My daughters had just recently seen a whale shark on the cartoon Dora. This made them so excited to see this large fish in person. It was all they could talk about. Little did they know, that this is the largest fish in the ocean and they were in for what some would consider a once in a lifetime opportunity. We left the dock and made our way about 10 minutes across the bay to where the whale sharks hang out. It is hard to believe that you only have to take a 10-minute boat ride and how easy they are to find.
I do have to say, that I had no idea what we were in for. We are riding along when the boat captain spots the first whale shark. He tells us, this is a baby one and only about 12 feet. Only about 12 –feet, wow. How much bigger can they get? We decide we want the big daddy so we leave the baby alone and off we go searching for another one. We spot him about 10 minutes later. We slow down and slowly coast in closer to it. We watch him for a short bit to see what he is going to do and make sure we are moving “with” him. The captain tells us to get our snorkel gear ready and jump when he tells us too. You want to jump ahead of them so they swim towards you. You then swim along side them . The captain says, okay are you ready? It all happened so fast and honestly I am thankful it did. Otherwise I may have allowed fear to get the best of me.
I jumped in and realized “oh my gosh, this whale shark is huge!” I just swam with my fins as fast as I could to keep up with it. He isn’t going very fast but he is huge remember. So for me to keep up was a little more tough. I was fortunate enough to have an under water video camera and capture footage of the other swimmers, the whale shark and myself along side him. I finally was worn out and ready to get back in the boat. I wasn’t sure if my girls would be freaked out or overly filled with excitement. Well turns out that my girls were so excited. They couldn’t believe that mommy was swimming with the whale shark. It started a new fascination with them. I became the cool mommy…..”Mommy did something that Dora did too!” We had such a great time that I took my parents back to do it all over again just a few weeks later. The second time we got to also see about 200 dolphins in what was the neatest dolphin experience we had ever encountered We were surrounded by them and they rode alongside us for a good 15 minutes. Then a few minutes later we came up upon the first of many whale sharks. What a day!
So, looking for something unique to do during your next trip to Los Cabos? I would recommend seeing the whale sharks to anyone. You can go out and find as many as you want and swim as much or as little as you want. Some people even choose to just hang out on the boat and just want to “see” the whale shark.
For more information on the Cortez Club and their tour – http://www.cortezclub.com/whales/whalesharkslapaz.shtml