Swimmers had a Whale Shark of a time off Port Douglas

WHALE SHARK ENCOUNTER

Karlie Brady

Journalist

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A crew member from Calypso was lucky enough to get up close with a Whale Shark. Image: Supplied.
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Lucky swimmers off the coast of Port Douglas were treated to a rare experience on Sunday, getting to swim alongside a Whale Shark.

Guests and crew on board Experience Co’s Calypso Reef Cruises were on their tour when they encountered the Whale Shark at Split Bommie on Opal Reef.

Marine Biology Manager for Experience Co., Eric Fisher, said while Whale Shark sightings are not supper common off Port Douglas, they do occur, and as more has become known about the majestic creatures, scientists have discovered they are very migratory and travel huge distances

Mr Fisher said they have noticed that individual Whale Sharks will favour certain reefs.

“We have found with Whale Sharks there is fidelity by certain Sharks to certain reefs at certain times of the year,” he said.

“For Opal Reef, it seems to be a pattern that in January they are seen more frequently than any other month.”

While More Reef off Cairns becomes a hot spot in September.

“It is most likely that these large migratory movements have to do with feeding and reproduction. They use the same certain areas of the Great Barrier Reef throughout their travels.

“The one in the pictures here was certainly feeding close to the dive site,” he said.

Whale Sharks are animals that create fascination and awe and Mr Fisher said he believes it is because they are strikingly beautiful and peaceful animals.

“The size makes them impressive and they are approachable, they don’t pose a threat to humans, they come quite close up to swimmers while they go about their business,” Mr Fisher said.


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