Friday, April 8, 2011

Snorkeling with whale sharks and pilot whales in Puerto Princesa

Philippines have two well known places where world biggest fish, whale sharks, are very common and where people can snorkeling with them. Places are Donsol and Leyte. There is anyway also third place which many people don't know yet. It's Puerto Princesa in Palawan.
I was last year 2010 about 5 months in Palawan and most of the time in Puerto Princesa. During that time I did three whale sharks trip. First trip was in April, next in July and last one in September. Whale shark season in Puerto Princesa is from April to October.

Trips start near city center from Bay Walk. First by banca boat about one hour from Puerto Princesa Bay to open sea. In practise place is on the front of Honda Bay. Then starts the real whale shark searching. Usually smaller fishes show where the whale sharks are. Fishes start to jump in the surface on the large area. When you see jumping fishes many time whale shark fin appears to the surface also. Then boat goes little bit closer and when we see whale shark is everybody jumps to the water and starts swim toward whale shark. Here is small video clip from that moment.

Sometimes it's possible to go very close to whale sharks. Touching is anyway not allowed. Few times whale sharks have swum against me and I had to rise my hands up to protect myself from the massive tail. Close, but no touching.
Whale shark and snorkeler.
This is usually the angle how people see whale shark under water.
On the last trip in September happened something very special. In the beginning of the boat trip, Toto, who run the trips, said I got just a information from the fisherman there is a group of about 30 short-finned pilot whales in the area. After 30min boat ride we found the whales.
Toto said I have seen pilot whales here many times during the years but I have never been in the water with them. Then he added but now I have my under water camera first time. Toto went to water and staying all the time near the boat. Some whales had also small ones and we didn't know anything how they react for people. Can they be protective and aggressive or what? After Toto I went also water to watch whales under water. Because of safety we didn't go close and stayed all the time near the boat. Here three pilot whales diving.
After pilot whales we saw also big group of dolphins. Those are anyway so fast and we didn't go to water.

That was amazing day and I will never forget it!

Mika



11 comments:

  1. its nice to do it again and again, if yo want to swim along with this gentle giant please contact mr. angelo toto cayabo smart +639486641783 gloge +639169084777 or email totodolphin@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Update for Toto Cayabo Globe Contact Number:
      +639175796665
      Thanks

      Delete
    2. Hi! Can i see whale on February? I'd like to book for 4 people.

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    3. Hi!

      I have understood whales are not so common there, but I have heard they have seen sometimes also bigger whales on the same area. Not only pilot whales. Dolpins are quite common in that area. Better to ask directly from Toto who organize the boat trips. Here is his email: totodolphin@yahoo.com

      Regards,
      Mika

      Delete
  2. hi, it's happen to see the whale sharks and pilot whales in Puerto Princesa by luck or they will be there through the year round?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,

      Whale sharks are usually on the area from April to October. Not all over the year.

      Regards,
      Mika

      Delete
  3. Hi,

    Whale sharks are in Puerto Princesa area usually from Easter to October. Pilot whale depends. I don´t know is there season for those creatures. I have done whale shark trip in Puerto about 5 times in different months and I have seen only ones whales. So lucky. I have heard sometimes there is possible to see also other whales. Dolphins are on the area all over the year.

    Regards,
    Mika

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  4. Hi do you know how much toto charges? Also what time of day do the sharks typically show up? Thanks!

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  5. Hi Max,

    I have done my all Puerto Princesa whale shark trips in 2010 - 2011 and then the price for the day trip was 1500PHP including good food and soft drinks. Trip started about 8:30AM from Puerto Princesa Baywalk and boat came back to Baywalk about 4PM.

    Best time of the month to see whale sharks is during the full moon. One week before full moon to one week after full moon. Then there are more food near the surface for the whale sharks. On some trips I have seen the first whale sharks already after 30min we left from the pier. Usually it takes at least 1 hour. It really depends.

    I have snorkeled with whale sharks also one day in Donsol, Philippines. Here some story from that day:

    http://reefdive.blogspot.com/2013/03/snorkeling-day-with-whale-sharks-in.html

    In Donsol the whale sharks are much closer the coast line/hotels, so boat don´t need to ride so far. On the other hand visibility in Puerto Princesa is so much better, that you can´t even compare. There is also on the same time so many people and boats searching whale shark in Donsol, that I don´t like it so much. When one boat founds, then all the boat attack on that area. :) In Puerto there is usually one boat. Max two.

    Cheers,
    Mika

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  6. Nice pictures from the whale sharks!!

    regards
    Wibi1405

    ReplyDelete