More Extreme Whale Sharking

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Story by Holtzy Photos by Ray and Nick

As a last minute decision to help fund the first series of HGMtv it was time for me to get back up to the Ningaloo Reef near Exmouth (North West Australia) and chase Whale Sharks for one last season.

For those that don't know Exmouth is one of the few places in the world where the biggest fish on the planet- Whale Sharks- regularly appear at a set time allowing a pretty cool tourist industry to thrive.

People from all over the world travel to Exmouth for a chance to swim with these monsters and it's my job to guide them in the water and film the experience. Of all the cool jobs I do this is possibly the one with the most job satisfaction as each day I get to play a major part in what for a lot of people is one of the best days of their lives.

While it's a reasonably safe job compared to some, jumping in water up to 240m deep armed with just a snorkel and a camera does have it's dangerous moments. While Whale Sharks are plankton eaters and thus harmless the Ningaloo Reef is full of other big sharks with big teeth like Tigers, Bronze Whalers, Hammerheads and even the occasional Great White.

Because I'm in the water all day every day it's only ever a matter of time before I cross paths with one of these guys. This year I had a 10 foot plus Tiger Shark swim right at me and then pass just a couple of metres directly underneath me all the while opening and closing it's mouth. I'm not sure if it was just smiling at me, showing me how big it's teeth were or just sizing me up for a meal. And yes I hit record on the camera and got it on film so I have proof. (See youtube video below)

Yesterday was one of the best days of the season but it still had it's scary moment. There was five 4-5 metre whale sharks all in a small area swimming around with their heads half out of the water feeding on red krill. They looked like big ocean going vacuum cleaners. I had never seen them do that before in nearly four seasons of swimming every day with them.

The scary moment came on the first time we went in the water with one of the Whale Sharks when a big Bronze Whaler Shark swum right into the middle of my group to see what all the commotion was about. Naturally it's up to me to chase him off which I did and yes I got that on film too.

So if you are wondering why there hasn't been too many stories up on lately now you know why. The job takes up a good 12-16hrs of my day 7 days a week but theres plenty of good news ahead. I've got some guys doing stories for us plus we are in the process of completely rebuilding the site with a proper shop, heaps of video clips (so I can show proof of those sharks with teeth and other stuff) and just generally a much cooler, easier to use site.

So expect us to have a huge media blitz in the coming months and have heaps of cool stuff for you to enjoy because that's why we do this stuff. More photos of Holtzy's Whale Shark season can be found here