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Whale Sharks

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boston
4 posts
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Whale Sharks

Hi,

I am going to be traveling to Belize at the end of March. I have heard that there is a place to dive where you can encounter whale sharks.

My understanding that the best place to stay for this is Placencia. Is this true?

Who would be the best dive company to go with for this?

What are the chances of actually seeing a whale shark at the end of March?

Thanks,

belize
Destination Expert
for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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6,750 posts
10 reviews
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1. Re: Whale Sharks

March is the first month they congregate, in gwoing numbers the following months. Best time is within 3 days of the full moon. I'd go on one of the larger dive boats from TRoberts Grove or Turtle in for speed and comfort,

belize
13 posts
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2. Re: Whale Sharks

Contact www.ReefCI.com for more information on whale sharks at the Sapodillas. I understand they pass through there usually during and up to 10 days after the full moons of March, April, May, and sometimes June. The Sapodillas are very quiet, with no other dive boats in the area, so you more or less get them to yourself!

Last year they got to swim with one whilst it was feeding - a total food chain with the birds on the surface feeding on the sardines and the tuna feeding on the small fish and a Caribbean Reef Shark and a Lemon Shark feeding on the tuna...the Whale Shark calmly feeding on the plankton!

Have fun!

boston
4 posts
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3. Re: Whale Sharks

Thank you for your replies.

I know this is not an exact thing, but do they typically only come on the day of the full moon and remain for the few days after, or do they sometimes come a few days before the full moon as well.

My trip is planned for March 24th - April 1st; and apparently the full moon is on March 14th and April 2nd.

So I was hoping to get out there on March 31st (2 days prior to the full moon).

What do you think my chances are?

Also any idea on the costs for such a dive with Roberts Grove or Turtle?

Thanks so much.

belize
Destination Expert
for Belize, Placencia, Ambergris Caye, Cayo, San Ignacio
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6,750 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: Whale Sharks

I think $160.00/10% but not sure if that includes the marine park fees, which are $15.00pp.

Miami
4 posts
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5. Re: Whale Sharks

Hi,

The best times to view the whale sharks are from 2 days before the full moon up to the last quater of March, April, May and June. However, March is a bit rough because of the strong winds. The whale sharks congregate in an area know as Gladden Spit about 26 vmiles northeast of Placencia. The whale sharks are feeding on the zooplanton from the spawning snappers and groupers. View the following website to learn more about a new Tour company in the area that has a 36' Dive Boat www.placenciaadventuretours.com

Denver, Colorado
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73 posts
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6. Re: Whale Sharks

Good luck. We emailed 4 or 5 dive companies with general questions about costs, dive times, etc. Not one has responded.

Miami
4 posts
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7. Re: Whale Sharks

Hi,

What were the dive companies you wrote to?

Alaska
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33 posts
2 reviews
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8. Re: Whale Sharks

March 2006 we went out with Seahorse Dive shop out of Placencia. We were just snorkeling (I'd not do that again) but they run dive trips too.

http://www.belizescuba.com/

Seeing the shark was great. Diving with them should be spectacular.

SJH
Belize, CA
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38 posts
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9. Re: Whale Sharks

Cheengbum,

The best dive shop is in Placencia, SPLASH DIVE SHOP, and the owner is PATTI RAMIREZ. She is an instructor, and is very good at what she does. I promise you will have a great experience;

www.splashbelize.com

patricia@splashbelize.com

Charlotte, NC
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7 posts
2 reviews
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10. Re: Whale Sharks

On a recent trip there in April of 2009 I did not have a good experience with the SeaHorse Dive Shop unfortunately and would not recommend them. The short summary is that while the folks at the dive shop are pleasant and friendly, they appear more concerned with getting your money than your trip experience. To explain:

I planned an entire trip to Belize around trying to see the Whale Sharks. Given this occurs primarily in the full moons of March, April, May, June I called the dive shop for the best chance and they recommended April. I set up the first day for two Whale shark dives, and the next day to Glovers Atoll - so two trips with their shop.

After flying into Belize City and driving the 3 plus hours to get to Placencia we go whale shark diving - and see nothing the entire day. Come to find out another person on the dive had done whale shark dives the 2 prior days as well and had not seen anything either. Come to find out, the SeaHorse Dive Master confesses that a) June is the best month, not April as I was told and b) she estimated that daytime sightings had decreased so much recently that in 2 years there would be no daytime sightings period (the sharks come in the morning / evening when the boats aren't there). And while they don't guarantee you'll see whale sharks, they certainly don't tell you that there is a low probability period of seeing them either.

Scrapping that day, when we got back to the docks we asked about the next days dive to Glovers Atoll. And they had cancelled it!! Because there were not enough divers they cancelled the dive the day before without a prior heads up. So an entire vacation planned around Whale Sharks and the long drive to Placencia was of very little value - and primarily because the SeaHorse Dive shop was, IMO, more concerned with getting my money than my having a worthwhile trip.

I would not recommend them, and if you do try them be sure to understand what they are truly offering and their cancellation details. Best of luck.