Photographer's Note

During my recent trip to Western Australia, I was very lucky to be able to dive on the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef. The Reef is famous for its marine life, the most awesome of them being the Whale Shark, the largest fish in the world. Whale Sharks can grow to as large as 12 metres and weigh 21 tonnes. This bloke was 9 metres long. I swam within 3 metres of him. No photo of these gentle creatures will ever do it justice, in terms of communicating the size and power of the Whale Shark, nor will it do justice to the awe and exhilaration that the humble human feels when being allowed to swim next to one.

My Workshop has 2 photos to show a wider angle of the shark and then compared to a 5"8 80kg girl.

Western Australian writer Tim Winton conveys it better than anyone:

"...The shadow has a body. It turns and its mighty dorsal fin breaks the surface and you see it's a shark. Eight metres of shark. The tail swings by like a factory gate and already you're fumbling with your goggles and fifty-five metres of water you have no sense of scale, nothing to fix can't immediately tell if it's an anchovy or a nuclear submarine. But as it climbs slowly and evens out...quite suddenly you see it's a shark's mouth, big as the bucket of a steam shovel. The shark alters its course and the real shock hits you as you begin to see the size of its body. The colossal flanks are delicately spotted, as mesmeric as an Aboriginal dot intimidating at first sight as a ship's hull. Astonishingly silent, unhurried and seemingly slow motion, but hard to keep up with for too long... this thing is really, unbelievably big. a plankton eater, harmless, majestic and willing to swim with you a while, as long as you keep your distance and behave yourself...Then slowly, with imperceptible changes to its trim, it tilts away into the deep, tail fin swinging off into the haze below.

You tread water and marvel. Within sight of the shore you have swum with a whale shark, the ocean's largest non-mammal. Your snorkel blasts clear and pipes the sound of your hoot".

Olympus Tough TG2 Underwater Camera
ISO 200
1/160 seconds

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Additional Photos by Lisa DP (delpeoples) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5609 W: 342 N: 12455] (60342)
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