Whale Sharks in Komodo

Komodo is known for being a vastly diverse dive mecca but Whale Sharks are not a common sight here in the National Park. In the almost two years that I have spent diving in Komodo, I have only had the fortune to see one of those huge and gentle creatures twice while diving.

In 2013 we had a juvenile Whale Shark in the area for several months and it could often be seen by many divers. Being a young animal it was very curious and was not afraid to come close to the divers or near boats. On one occasion it came right up to the boat I was on and with the head just under the surface it appeared as if it was looking up at us and checking us out. It stayed there for a few minutes and then dived down again swimming around the boat for some time.

On a dive at Lighthouse, in the north of the park, we were hooked onto the reef in very strong currents when it suddenly appeared out of nowhere and came directly towards my group. Being a fairly small Whale Shark (approximately 3-4m), it seemed to struggling in the current as well, which was quite funny to watch. It stayed right beside us for a long time so we could all get a good look. A remarkable experience!

I didn’t see it again after that but on our trip on the 8th of December my group struck lucky again when diving at Shotgun, also in the north. We were just entering The Cauldron and wanted to descend into it when I looked up and saw a huge dark shadow approaching my group. Coming closer I realized what I was looking at: a Whale Shark. We couldn’t believe it… It was a 5m animal and it was passing right over our heads so close we could’ve touched it had we wanted to. Needless to say, my divers and of course myself, were ecstatic, and couldn’t get the smiles out of our faces for the rest of the day.

I couldn’t tell if it was the same juvenile from last year that has just grown up and returned to the beautiful Komodo National Park but I like to believe it, and I very much hope it won’t be the last time we will meet!