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whale sharks

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Washington DC
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whale sharks

Are the whale shark tour operators finding lots of them this season? Is the town packed to capacity this time of year?

London
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107 reviews
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1. Re: whale sharks

we were there a couple of weeks ago. the town looked anything but full - but that might be because it truly is a very quiet place even if it is full.

while we were there the weather was pretty poor, which sends the plankton down which in turn sends the whale sharks down.

we made two trips to try see them. one was abandoned about 1hr30min into it and we just returned. the other we had message from a spotter plane of a single whale shark quite far out into the Caribbean sea. By the time we got there, there were about 40 boats all trying to see it and apparently it had just dived - it didn't return; however i really wouldn't have liked to see it in that sort of environment. so we never got to see whale sharks - oh well, good excuse to return to Holbox (not that you really need one).

i do have to say not all operators are the same. the first lot we went with were awful. no information and no guides that spoke english (although we were told there would be). we didn't even really understand why we had returned until we got to speak to our hotel. we didn't pay anything for it in the end though.

Canyon Lake...
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15 posts
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2. Re: whale sharks

Just returned from Holbox on Sunday. We swam with the whale sharks. Holbox Adventures took us out. I was surprised by how many boats were out there. However, Jesus said not to worry. Plenty of whale sharks for everyone. He was right. We swam 2 people and an instructor. There was never anyone else "sharing" our whale shark. They were pretty far out though. Probably a 2 hour ride. Between the boat ride there, swimming, snorkeling after and cruising home, it was an 8 hour day (8-4). Incredible experience.

In regards to the town being crowded, I felt like we were the only people on the island. The plaza would get busy at night but never crowded.

MDUSA
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15 posts
32 reviews
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3. Re: whale sharks

what are possibilities to find a more private tour for just 2 people? I would prefer to charter a boat and captain so as to increase time in the water for 2 of us. Also what are the possibilities to get to whale sharks at times other than when there are 40 boats at the same time? Is there a "peak" time say in the morning or early afternoon that a private tour might be able to avoid? I understand such a boat is going to cost more than one with 10 or 12 guests ... but we are traveling 3000 miles anyway ... we would like to avoid crowds and are not worried about some extra costs to do so. Advice?

Canyon Lake...
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4. Re: whale sharks

I believe you can book a private boat. Don't quote me on this but thought I saw $750 somewhere. We are a family of 5 and I didn't want to "share" my time. However when I talked to Jesus, he said that we'd have as much time as we wanted with the whale sharks. We ended up with another couple who I really enjoyed. NO one on the boat wanted more time. We all swam as long as we wanted. You think that you'll want a lot more time but it is more exhausting than you think. I wanna say my 12 year old went in 4 times. It's also incredible to sit on the boat and just watch them swim by. BEAUTIFUL creatures.

As for timing, unfortunately I think every tour is the same. Leave the dock around 7:30-8 and head out. We didn't get back til 4. I'm not sure if that's normal or not. Sharks were pretty far south at the time. I was in awe of all the boats but they really didn't affect our visiting the sharks. They all jockey around so your boat has it's own whale shark. Govt/navy boats were out keeping an eye to make sure everyone followed the rules.

Amazing experience!

MDUSA
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5. Re: whale sharks

agree no need to request a private tour ... even with 10 persons, wife and I had two swims with the Whale Sharks about 10 minutes each and that was enough. Huge Mantas making loop de loops right by us also. On way out turtle tracks on the beach and hundreds in the water on the return. The boats leave the Holbox dock about 8am and we got to where the whale sharks were about 150 minutes. The boats travel at different speeds depending on the HP of the two outboard motors. We had 2 60HP outboards and the fastest boat had 2 150HP outboards. Agree also the hotels take their cut to arrange same tour that can be had for same price (or better). The trip includes a snorkeling stop on the return and fresh ceviche. Got back at 330. Besides the tour we relaxed, ate, swam in the Gulf in front of the casita and caught up reading

Rising Fawn, Georgia
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33 posts
9 reviews
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6. Re: whale sharks

I'm curious as to when you were there, GTW? I've seen the whale sharks (agree that there's no need to rent a charter), but I would LOVE to see a manta ray. These are the huge black ones with the "horns", right? I was told that they are reclusive and hardly ever seen, but this is the second post I've read recently that mentions seeing them. I'll be there in a month. I hadn't planned on doing the tour again, but if there's a chance I'll see a manta....

MDUSA
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7. Re: whale sharks

Our tour was Wednesday 7/24. The Mantas were large, perhaps 12 foot tip to tip of wings. They did have the horns. From recollection, some were dark grey (not black) and some were light grey. Some were making loop de loops as if it were a game. I suppose Mantas are with the Whale Sharks sometimes and sometimes they are not. BTW, 2 of our ten became sea sick where we found the Whale Sharks. Got better on the return for the snorkeling and ceviche lunch.

Rising Fawn, Georgia
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33 posts
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8. Re: whale sharks

Thanks! Wow, that would be fabulous if they're still around in a month!

Yep, helpful hint - bring something for motion sickness or nausea on the trip just in case.... We brought something on our trip and didn't need it, but one of the other passengers did. He was very grateful when we offered it to him!

Halifax, Canada
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9. Re: whale sharks

If you have it, check out Mawimbi Hotel on Facebook. There are lots of pics of mantas that they have been posting on a regular basis the last few days. There seems to be no shortage of them!

-Surf:)

Rising Fawn, Georgia
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33 posts
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10. Re: whale sharks

I took the tour with Mawimbi last year! I'll definitely check that out! Thanks!